Man, 19, charged in Schenectady County kidnapping case

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A New Jersey man is accused of kidnapping two young girls from their Schenectady County home, and sexually abusing one of them.

Yusef Illeez, 19, of Cherry Hill, was arraigned in Schenectady County Court Wednesday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty.

Investigators say in January, he kidnapped two little girls – who were 9 and 11 – from their Scotia home in the middle of the night.

Prosecutors say he took them to a hotel, but brought the 9-year-old girl back to her home a couple hours later. Then they say he went back to the hotel with the 11-year-old girl. That’s where authorities say he sexually abused the 11-year-old girl and tried to rape her, before dropping her off down the street from her home, then returning to New Jersey.

A seven-count indictment was unsealed in court Wednesday afternoon.

Illeez is charged with kidnapping, attempted rape, attempted criminal sex act, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Investigators say he made contact with the young girls through an app called Yubo, which is geared toward young people.

Prosecutors say a search of Illeez’s computer and phone found child pornography, and evidence of attempts to engage in sexual contact with other children.

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In court, both sides made arguments about bail.

“Obviously with the victim being a child, we’re going to have concerns about the damage that could have been done in this type of case to this specific victim, but also the risk of harm to other members of the community,” said Michael Nobles, Schenectady County prosecutor.

“He was approached by law enforcement five to six weeks ago, he didn’t run. When he was made aware that the police were at his business, he came back voluntarily. They brought him to a court in New Jersey. He immediately waived extradition to come to New York and we believe that he would appear at all court appearances,” said Andrew Safranko, Illeez’s defense attorney.

Judge Mark Caruso sent Illeez to jail without bail, pending trial.