A grocery store’s surveillance camera may have captured video of a man stalking a teenager moments before he allegedly tried to kidnap the child.
The video shows a man matching the suspect's description, leaving the store right at the same time as a young woman, and then driving down the street very slowly.
Javier Martinez Mendez, 48, was arrested Saturday after he was accused of trying to kidnap a 14-year-old girl in the 1500 block of West Vista Way around 6:30 p.m.
The teenager was walking home from Primo Foods Market at the time of the incident.
In the surveillance video obtained by NBC 7, a man matching Mendez’ description walks around the market for nearly 10 minutes and does not buy anything.
Just as a young woman leaves, the man leaves as well, gets into a white work truck matching a description of a the suspect’s vehicle and seems to be driving slowly on a busy West Vista Way.
That's where San Diego County sheriff’s deputies say the suspect followed the 14-year-old girl for 500 feet. He first asked her to get in the truck then he demanded that she get in deputies said.
“At that time she just feared for her safety and ran home to her residence off Durian,” said San Diego County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dwain Washington.
Once the child’s parents found out about the attempted kidnapping, officials say the father and a friend tracked down the suspect – who was still in the area.
Deputies say Mendez jumped out of the passenger side door and ran down the street.
Washington said the father ran after Mendez and detained him until law enforcement arrived on scene.
“If he would've ran and escaped, we probably wouldn’t not have made contact or captured the suspect and he may have done this to somebody else,” Washington said.
Mendez was arrested and booked into the Vista Detention Facility.
He’s currently being held on a $100,000 bail on charges of kidnapping and annoying a child. He’s scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
Deputies caution the public against approaching possible crime suspects and say they prefer witnesses to crimes get good descriptions or even follow from a distance.