A man seen on surveillance video following a young girl before allegedly trying to sexually assault her as her mother stood just a short distance away was arrested Thursday.
The video shows Juan Alvarez with his pants down as he closely trails the girl as her mother walks just ahead of her at the Rio Rancho Super Mall, as the security guard who detained him told KTLA.
In the video, the girl appears to be around the age of a toddler.
Alvarez was "lewdly touching himself" and trying to grab the young girl at the same time, eventually getting close enough to reach and touch her hand, police said in a Facebook post.
"Everything was showing — everything," the security guard, Eddie Pugo, told KTLA of the suspect exposing himself.
"(He) was right behind her," Pugo said. "The video shows that he's trying to grab her little hand, trying to put it on his crotch."
Pugo said Alvarez continued doing this for several minutes before the child's mother noticed and cried out for help. Then Pugo rushed over from his post at the mall — placing Alvarez in handcuffs until police arrived to the scene.
Pugo, who has three daughters, said he struggled to keep his composure as he detained Alvarez.
"I really did want to hurt this guy but I was trying to be professional," he said.
He described the girl, who he believed to be around 4-years-old, as being "shaken up" after the incident.
"She was very scared," Pugo said. "She didn't know what was going on."
Afterwards, Pugo tried to help the girl by buying her an ice cream.
"I was trying to make her forget," he said.