Greenup man pleads innocent following attempted child abduction

URBANA — A Greenup man is scheduled to appear in court on July 10 in connection with an incident over the weekend in Urbana.

Bennie A. Hays, 72, who listed an address in Greenup, pleaded innocent on Monday to one count of felony child abduction.

Champaign County States Attorney Julia Rietz said the statute for a charge of child abduction also includes the attempted abduction of a child.

If Hays is convicted, he could be sentenced to between one and three years in prison.

According to an Urbana police report, officers were sent to the 1300 block of Silver Street about 1:50 p.m. Saturday for a report of a man trying to lure children into his pickup truck with a puppy or small dog. Although he left the area before they got there, police found Hays about 3 p.m. and arrested him.

Police said a woman saw the man's interaction with children from afar and yelled at them, prompting him to take off as well as the children.

Hays was wearing a blue plaid shirt and blue jeans, was driving a white older Ford pickup truck and had a small, gray-and-black long-haired dog in the truck with him.

Witnesses described one of the children the man was attempting to lure to his vehicle as a girl between 3 and 6 years old, wearing a red T-shirt with some printing on it and purple shorts. There were two or three other boys with her in the same age range.

Judge Richard Klaus set Hays' bond at $150,000.

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