Chula Vista Police Department
A still image taken from the surveillance tape that captured the attempted kidnapping at a gas station in Chula Vista. The suspect can be seen standing between his vehicle (l) and the victim's car (r).
A man caught on surveillance tape trying to allegedly kidnap a woman at a Chula Vista gas station is now behind bars, police confirmed on Wednesday.
On Jul. 14 at around 11:50 p.m., police say suspect Thomas Paciornik, 25, approached a woman who was pumping gas at a 7-Eleven station on Hilltop Drive and Orange Avenue.
The Chula Vista Police Department says Paciornik stopped his car near the victim’s vehicle and began speaking to the woman, identifying himself as “Tom.”
He allegedly told the victim she was pretty and asked if she would go with him, but the woman refused.
The victim returned to her car and, according to police, that’s when Paciornik opened the woman’s door, grabbed and pulled her arm and again asked her to go with him. He also allegedly kissed the victim.
The woman refused his requests again, and Paciornik became agitated.
Police say he then returned to his car, backed into the victim’s vehicle and blocked her from driving forward. He punctured the woman’s tire and told her she had five seconds to get into his car.
The victim again refused, and eventually Paciornik drove away.
After realizing her tire was flat, the woman pulled into a parking stall at the gas station. At that point, police say Paciornik returned and parked his car so the woman was unable to open her driver side door.
He then continued yelling at the victim, but left shortly thereafter when witnesses told him police were on their way. By the time officers arrived, Paciornik had fled the scene. The woman was not injured.
The entire incident was captured on surveillance video at the gas station (see photo above). Through the video, detectives obtained the suspect vehicle’s license plate number and linked Paciornik to yet another incident.
Detectives learned that on Jul. 15 – just hours after the attempted kidnapping – Paciornik’s car was towed from Viejas Casino in Alpine.
At around 8:30 a.m. that day, police say Paciornik tried to claim his car from the Viejas valet area, but did not have proper documentation. He caused a disturbance, and deputies were called to the scene.
Paciornik was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Using those details, Chula Vista detectives learned that Paciornik matched the description of the man who assaulted the victim at the gas station on Jul. 14.
The victim had told police Paciornik had some lacerations to his face, among other things, and Chula Vista Police Department Capt. Gary Wedge said everything lined up.
Paciornik, still in custody at San Diego Central Jail from the Viejas incident, was then charged with additional counts, including attempted kidnapping, assault with intent to commit a felony, false imprisonment and vandalism.
The suspect appeared in court on Tuesday, and his bail was set at $205,000.
He’s scheduled to appear in court again on Monday.