Police Identify Person of Interest in Attempted Child Abduction at Air & Space Museum

Authorities have identified a person of interest in the attempted abduction of a child from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum earlier this month.

U.S. Park Police announced Wednesday they have a warrant for the arrest of 60-year-old Bernard Drai, also known as Bernard Derei. He is one of two persons of interest in the case, police said.

Authorities say that on March 3, a group of people was leaving the Air and Space Museum through the north entrance when a man grabbed the hand of a child. 

He walked a few steps with the child, until a chaperone noticed and yelled at him to leave the child alone, authorities said. The man was believed to have boarded a white shuttle bus in the 600 block of Jefferson Drive SW.

Police released Drai's name and two images of him Wednesday.

He has dark hair and light blue or green eyes. police said. He is known to often travel to the U.S. and Canada from Israel and may stay in the New York City area.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit is aiding U.S. Park Police in the investigation.

Authorities are also investigating leads on the second person of interest, Park Police Sgt. Anna Rose said.

Earlier this month, Park Police released two videos showing two men they wanted the public to help identify. The men were seen talking to each other inside the museum.

"The first man had dark hair, but witnesses describe it as dark hair with light roots, like it was dyed," Rose said. "He had what is described as an Eastern European accent. The second man was older, heavier, and had white or gray hair."

The surveillance images have a strong resemblance to a similar incident last month at the Richmond Science Center in Virginia. A 9-year-old girl said a stranger touched her, News4's Jackie Bensen reported. Police described the contact as inappropriate.

Police asked any bus companies that had a dropoff or pickup between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on March 3 to call police. If you have any information regarding this incident, call the U.S. Park Police 202-610-8737 and reference case number 16-19402. You may also submit a tip via the U.S. Park Police website and may remain anonymous.

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