A rapist who police say tried to snatch a teen Wednesday stabbed a second victim the day before, police say.
And it turns out he has a long criminal history.
Leonard Earl Scroggins, 32, who is listed on the Megan’s Law website as a Napa resident who has served time for rape, was arrested in National City overnight. He was picked him up after a 13-year-girl fought of an abduction attempt in National City on 16th Street near Q Avenue earlier in the day.
On Thursday, Chula Vista police said they believed Scroggins was responsible for a pair of incidents on Tuesday in that South Bay city.
The first incident took place at about 9 p.m. in the 500 block of Oxford Street when man approached a 17-year-old girl and demanded money.
"The victim side-stepped the suspect and ran from the area," Chula Vista police said in a news release.
A second, much more serious incident occurred less than an hour later in the 500 block of Anita Street, about a half mile away from where the incident took place on Oxford. Police said Scroggins walked up and grabbed a woman and tried to pull her into his vehicle. The victim fought Scroggins off, however, and she was able to break free but was stabbed in the arm during the attack. The woman was taken to UCSD Medical Center.
Detective who interviewed Scroggins after his arrest said he confessed to his role in the Chula Vista crimes.
It's not clear when police connected the incidents to the same person. Even though both incidents on Tuesday were vaguely listed on the watch commander's log, no news release or alert to the public was issued.
"The information we received from both victims in our incidents from Tuesday evening was not very detailed," said Capt. Gary Wedge of the Chula Vista Police Department. "No license plate information, no vehicle description and suspect description. But even that varied somewhat, as you would expect, from victim to victim and witness to witness. So, really, not enough at that point to put something out. And obviously, we don't want to create a panic. The objective is to balance things out and make sure we do make people aware of things that are happening that are significant. But by the same token, not putting out information prematurely that might cause people to panic."
The watch commander's log listed the first incident as "robbery," noting a "report" was pending. The second incident, the stabbing, was listed as an "assault" -- a "response" to it was pending, too.
The girl in National City told the media on Wednesday that she was walking home alone from National City Middle School for the first time -- she usually walks with friends -- when a man in a dark-gray van pulled up near her. She said the man got out and then grabbed her around the neck while holding a knife.
The teen said the man told her, "Get in the car or I'll cut you," but she said she fought him off, cutting her finger in the process.
"I gave him an elbow hit, and then I screamed, 'Let me go!' " the girl said.
The teenager said the man then fled in the van and she ran home and called police.
"I was really scared," the girl said. "I wasn't really processing what was going on ... until I'm like, 'This is really happening.' "
“She knew not to get into the car,” Harlan said. “She did everything she could and that’s why she survived.”
Later in the afternoon, police identified Scroggins, a convicted sex offender who is also a person of interest in a pending sex assault case in Napa, as a suspect in the attempted kidnapping.
Scroggins was arrested Wednesday night at Kimball Park after a short pursuit. Police said Scroggins had removed a GPS tracking device from his ankle Tuesday night.
He is also suspected of stealing a woman's purse earlier on Wednesday, according to investigators, who said the woman got Scroggins' license plate number as he fled. The National City teen reported the attack less than two hours later.
According to records from the Department of Corrections, Scroggins has two felony convictions and five parole violations.
In 1995, Scroggins was convicted of rape in Napa County, and sentenced to ten years in prison. After serving four years of that sentence, he was released on parole in November of 1999. Within seven months, Scroggins was back in prison on a parole violation, and then released again in January of 2001. That release only lasted three months until another violation put him back in prison. That prison stint lasted two and a half years until November of 2003. Less than four months later, Scroggins is convicted of a felony related to a terrorist threat and sentenced to ten years. He served six before being released in January of this year. Less than two weeks after his release, Scroggins was back in prison yet again on a parole violation. He was most recently released March 6th.
Republican Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher is pushing for a Chelsea's Law which would involve more severe punishments for convicted sex offenders, and better GPS tracking. Fletcher says Scroggins is the perfect example of why the laws need to change.
"You know, at a certain point you should be done," says Fletcher, "And you should go back to prison and you shouldn't get out."
Scroggins faces robbery charges for the purse snatching and attempted kidnapping charges for his attack on the 13-year-old. After being connected with the new cases, additional charges of attempted kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and attempted robbery may now be filed, officials said Thursday.