Family of 12-year-old speaks after Bellaire man charged with attempted kidnapping

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Saturday, September 23, 2023
Bellaire police: Amar Barkouda tied to 2 kidnapping attempts 8 minutes as criminal history reveals involvement in SWAT standoff
Police are now trying to connect the 29-year-old to other similar kidnapping attempts in the area. According to court records, he was out on bond for an aggravated assault with a d

BELLAIRE, Texas (KTRK) -- The Bellaire Police Department is warning the community after a man is charged with attempted kidnapping, believing he's connected to several other cases in the area.

According to police, there have been several similar incidents just in the last few days.

Amar Barkouda, 29, was tracked down by Bellaire police officers after the department received two calls about alleged attempted kidnappings on Thursday.

The first call came from the 5100 block of Grand Lake Street at 8:02 a.m. Police said the caller reported seeing a man chasing a female at the address.

Then, while officers were checking Grand Lake for the suspect, a second caller said a man had attempted to abduct a female in the 5300 block of Evergreen Street at 8:10 a.m.

Bellaire police stopped a beige Toyota Camry at 8:11 a.m. and found the suspect described in the two 911 calls. The suspect was later identified as Barkouda. He was charged with attempted kidnapping.

Police said Barkouda is also the suspect in a similar call on Tuesday in the 5300 block of Jessamine Street and another call from Wednesday in the 5100 block of Chesnut Street.

Officials said two of the victims are juveniles.

ABC13 spoke to the parents of one of those victims, who is a 12-year-old girl.

The parents, who stayed anonymous due to their daughter's age, wanted families to know it is not just women being targeted, but minors. Their daughter was walking their dog in broad daylight when she was approached.

"She was walking the dog on our block and she got into the intersection and the car the guy was driving, he pulled up and stopped, got out, started asking her questions, and she immediately was apprehensive and pulled back," her father said.

According to her parents, he asked the 12-year-old if she knew where she lived, and the people in the neighborhood.

"He jumped in the car and sped off because I guess she could sense he was not receptive to his questions," her father said.

The parents are grateful their daughter is OK and want other families to use this as an opportunity to warn their children to be aware of their surroundings.

"Not being distracted, I see a lot of people staring at their cellphones or tuning out to music, and if that happened to my daughter, then we could have had a really different outcome," the mother of the 12-year-old said.

According to court records, Barkouda was found incompetent to stand trial and was out on a $50,000 bond for an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge.

That charge came from an incident in June 2022, when Barkouda allegedly held two people hostage during a SWAT standoff at the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Center on West Bellfort Avenue.

READ MORE: Man armed with screwdriver holds 2 people hostage at Scottish Rite in SW Houston, HPD says

Witnesses said the man broke in through a window after he tried to get inside to talk to them about their belief systems. A 91-year-old hostage was injured in his hand.

Police said he used a screwdriver to stab one of the victims in the hand.

ABC13 spoke to Barkouda's mother over the phone who was emotional and said her son battles with severe mental health.

There may be more victims, according to Bellaire PD.

If something similar happened to you or if you recognize Barkouda, contact Bellaire police at (713) 668-0487 or Houston police at (713) 884-3131.