Sheriff’s officials in Santa Clarita said Tuesday they are seeking other possible victims of a man suspected of trying to kidnap two 13-year-old girls.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department did not identify the suspect, a 40-year-old Valencia man, in a news release announcing his arrest. Investigators believe he is the man who pulled up to two girls on Feb. 19, later allegedly blocking their path with a blue pickup truck he was driving.
He was arrested Saturday on suspicion of attempted kidnapping and multiple counts of annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18, according to sheriff’s officials.
The girls were walking home from school near Market Street and Railroad Avenue in Newhall when authorities said the man approached them in a truck. Sheriff’s officials said he asked the girls if they were OK and if they needed a ride.
They rejected the offer but then the man blocked them with his vehicle in a crosswalk, authorities said.
The girl managed to get away but sheriff’s officials said the man had already targeted one of them earlier that day, pulling up to her and “initiating small talk” before offering a ride. Authorities said it’s possible the man has harassed other young girls.
“There have been some reports that the same suspect may have approached other teenagers and offered them rides, or tried enticing them into his vehicle,” the department said in a news release.
L.A. County Sheriff’s Lt. Ignacio Somoano said the man is being investigated for attempted kidnapping because of some of the circumstances involved.
“The suspect never go out of his car to physically grab the victims but based on some of the information — of the car driving by, maybe seeing them, following them and then offering them a ride — we believe it warranted bringing him in for a possible attempted kidnapping investigation,” Somoano said.
Although one of the girls captured a photo of the man’s truck, authorities are not releasing the image and have not given a description of the man or released his photo.
Anyone with information can reach the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121. Those wishing to remain anonymous can submit tips by calling L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.