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Cambridge police arrest man accused of approaching two preteen sisters on street

A Cambridge man is accused of approaching two preteen sisters on the street and grabbing one of them.
A Cambridge man is accused of approaching two preteen sisters on the street and grabbing one of them.(Screen capture via Cambridge police youtube)

A Cambridge man accused of approaching two preteen sisters on the street and grabbing one of them was arrested on a warrant Saturday morning, police said.

Lionel Brathwaite Jr., 52, was apprehended at about 7:25 a.m. on Massachusetts Avenue by two officers who were patrolling Central Square, Deputy Superintendent Jack Albert said.

Brathwaite, who is homeless, allegedly approached the sisters near Pleasant and Auburn streets around 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, police said.

While asking for directions, he grabbed one of them by the arm. They walked down several streets and stopped at Salem Street, where Brathwaite asked the sisters if they wanted to go with him down an alley, which they declined.

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He apologized and let the pair go as they ran toward home, police said.

After interviewing the girls, investigators determined it was kidnapping and charged Brathwaite with two counts, Albert said.

They obtained a warrant for his arrest Friday in Cambridge District Court, he said.

Police also released a video of the incident on Friday, asking for the public’s help in the case.

The incident was one of two reports of strangers approaching young girls in Cambridge this month.

Also on Wednesday, the mother of a 17-year-old girl told police her daughter had been followed by a stranger on Feb. 3. Police have determined the incident was unrelated to the incident involving the sisters, Albert said.


K. Sophie Will can be reached at sophie.will@globe.com