An Anaheim man arrested last week on allegations that he tried to kidnap a 13-year-old girl while she walked home from school appeared in court Tuesday to face felony charges.
Andrew Giovanni Pio, 30, of Anaheim, was charged with attempted kidnapping and several other felony charges related to the sexual abuse of children.
Pio also faces a misdemeanor charge for evading a police officer after he led law enforcement on a nearly hour-long pursuit through Orange County last Friday.
According to officials, officers were attempting to pull over Pio’s white pickup truck because it matched the description of a vehicle connected to the attempted kidnapping that happened on Thursday, March 31.
Investigators said a 13-year-old girl was walking home from her junior high school in Anaheim when she spotted a white pickup truck parked on Ball Road. As the girl got closer to the pickup, a man, who authorities believe is Pio, tried to forcibly grab her and put her in the truck.
The man let go of the girl and took off after he was confronted by witnesses, but got away with the girl’s cell phone.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said the victim in the attempted kidnapping was lucky to escape and said his office is committed to keeping predators off of the streets and prevent them from attacking more innocent children.
“A man grabbing an innocent girl off the street and throwing her into a truck in broad daylight is the stuff of every parent’s nightmares,” said Spitzer. “This brave little girl fought with everything she had and that will to survive, combined with the bystanders who heard her screams and came to her rescue, prevented this nightmare from becoming an even greater tragedy. Thankfully, this little girl escaped and got to go home to her family.”
Pio is also accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in Riverside County in November 2021.
If convicted of the charges he faces, he could be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, the DA’s office said.