A North County man accused of trying to kidnap a 14-year-old girl pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.
Officials say Mendez first asked the teen to get into his truck, and then demanded that she get in. She refused and escaped.
The teenage victim then ran home and told her father what had happened.
The teen’s father and a friend immediately tracked down Mendez, who was still circling the area, and cornered him while waiting for deputies to arrive.
Mendez jumped out of the passenger door of his truck and ran down the street, but officials say the girl’s father ran after him and detained him until law enforcement arrived on scene.
Deputies then arrested Mendez for attempted kidnapping.
The teen had been walking home from Primo Foods Market at the time of the incident. Surveillance footage captured by the market’s camera may have recorded Mendez stalking the girl before he allegedly tried to kidnap her.
The surveillance video, obtained by NBC 7 on Sunday, shows a man matching Mendez’s description walking around the store for nearly 10 minutes without buying anything. The man leaves the store right at the same time as a young woman, and can then be seen driving down the street very slowly.
On Wednesday, Mendez was ordered to appear in court in person so a judge could issue a protective order for the teen demanding he stay away from her.
Mendez pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor count of annoying or molesting a child under the age of 18 and one count of driving without a license.
Prosecutors say Mendez could face up to one year and two months in jail plus a $5,000 fine if convicted of both offenses.