A man was arrested near the scene of the crime in connection with an earlier attack on a 12-year-old girl while she was walking to school in La Mesa, investigators said.
The Parkway Middle School student was walking in the 9200 block of Fletcher Parkway Thursday at about 8.30 a.m., between Chatham Street and Dallas Street when police say a man started talking to her.
“The man initially engaged the girl in conversation, then hugged her and attempted to kiss her,” Lt. David Bond said.
The vice-principal of the school was driving to work when she saw the girl and the man together. She stopped, picked her up and took her to school where she called police.
The suspect was described as about 50 years old, wearing a black and red hooded sweatshirt and black pants. Friday morning, a man matching that description was arrested on Dallas Street near Fletcher Parkway.
This was the third prowling incident around the County in the past few days. Investigators say a suspicious man has been lurking around two schools that border Kit Carson Park.
On March 5, a Bear Valley Middle School eighth grader was walking on the campus of the nearby L.R. Green Elementary School when she said a man approached her.
The suspect was sitting inside a truck parked at the rear of the elementary school on Las Palmas Avenue near Castaneda Drive. He signaled to the girl to approach his vehicle, police said.
Escondido Union School District Superintendent Jennifer Walters left a phone message Wednesday night warning them of the incident.
An Escondido father who received the message from the school district said he’s glad parents are being kept informed.
“In light of everything that has been going on, I think everyone here has a heightened awareness,” Mitch Perdue said.
Nellie Langston, an Escondido mother said everyone in the community is on high alert.
“I am paranoid,” she said. “You don’t want to raise your children to be afraid, but you have to be now. Anyone can just pick them up and take them it's really scary.”
The man in the truck is described as Latino, between 30 to 40 years old, with an average build and average height, salt-and-pepper hair and a goatee, police said. He was seen wearing a white T-shirt with blue paint on it and blue jeans and was driving a "big" black truck, possibly a full-sized pickup, with a chrome front grill and chrome door handles.
Police say a man fitting the suspect description was spotted in the same area on Wednesday.
If you have any information in these cases call Crime Stoppers' anonymous toll-free tip line (888) 580-TIPS. You can remain anonymous, and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest in this case.