MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul police hope you can help find the men who tried to kidnap a 17-year-old State Fair worker Thursday night.

Snelling Avenue is a popular street to walk to and from the Great Minnesota Get-Together. People park blocks away and walk to the entrance.

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“All of the lots in the parking were full,” Theresa Praske said. “It took us quite a while to find a spot.”

Thursday night around 8:50 p.m. police say a 17-year-old fair worker was walking near Snelling and Arlington when she passed four men standing near a car.

“They began to verbally harass the victim, making comments about her appearance, what she was wearing, inviting her to come with them for a quote unquote good time,” Steve Linders with St. Paul Police said.

Linders said she tried to ignore them, walking past the black 4-door sedan with black rims.

“As she did, one of the suspects grabbed her by the arm, grabbed her by the back of the neck and forcefully and physically tried to get her into the car,” Linders said. “The victim happened to have mace on her. She pulled out the mace, sprayed the suspect in the face with the mace, at which point he let go of her.”

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She ran. Police said she’s shaken and has bruises on her arms and back of the neck, but is otherwise okay.

“What if she didn’t have mace?” Nicole Kirberger wondered.

“I don’t even want to think about what could happen,” Joan Mackowick said. “It’d be a different story.”

Fairgoers say they’ll be extra vigilant, and will look out for others.

“You can never be too comfortable where you’re at,” Sengxi Ly said. “Always take a look at your surroundings, mind your surroundings.”

Police call this a frightening situation but also call it rare.

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They advise people to walk in pairs. And they want to hear from anyone who may have seen anything Thursday night, or if this has happened to anyone else.

Jennifer Mayerle