A 17-year-old girl who had been working at the Minnesota State Fair fought off an attempted abduction Thursday night outside the fairgrounds after finishing her shift, St. Paul police said Friday.

The incident occurred about 8:50 p.m. as the girl left the fairgrounds and walked north along the east side of Snelling Avenue in St. Paul, said Steve Linders, a police spokesman.

As she approached the intersection of Snelling and Arlington avenues, four men standing next to a parked car began verbally harassing her, making comments about what she was wearing and inviting her to go with them for “a good time,” Linders said.

The girl ignored the men and passed their car, but one of the men grabbed her by the arm and neck and tried to force her into the vehicle, Linders said.

The girl sprayed her attacker with Mace and ran off. The suspects yelled at her and then fled in a black four-door sedan with black rims.

The man who grabbed the girl was described as black with short hair, in his mid-20s and about 6 feet tall. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a blue and red shirt with large stitches on it, Linders said.

“This is an extremely frightening situation, but it’s also extremely rare,” Linders said. “The State Fair is safe, so when something like this happens, we want to … get to the bottom of this as soon as we can.”

The girl was shaken up and bruised on her arm and neck, but wasn’t seriously injured.

Police said they are uncertain whether the incident was captured by a surveillance video.

Anyone who saw the incident or has information about the suspect is asked to call St. Paul police at 651-266-5650.

Kevin Duchschere