San Diego Police released a composite sketch Friday of a man they believe tried to persuade a teenage girl to climb inside his vehicle in Otay Mesa.
According to a report to investigators, the 17-year-old girl was walking along the 1700 block of Caliente Avenue on her way to school Tuesday when a man driving a light blue van pulled up alongside her.
He asked her a question, and then told the victim several times to get in the van.
The girl refused. The suspect eventually drove away westbound on Airway Road, and he was last seen turning southbound on Otay Mesa Road. The teenage girl was unharmed, police said.
The suspect is described as a heavy built man between 30 and 40 years old. He had a thin mustache, short black hair and was wearing a camouflage hat and cream colored jacket at the time of his encounter with the girl.
His vehicle, police said, is a light blue 1990’s van, similar to a Chevrolet Astro. It had a roof rack and rust on the passenger side, and its license plates may have been from Baja California.
Parents and residents in the area told NBC 7 they were extremely shaken up by the incident.
Sarah Ulloua, mother of six children, said that sometimes her kids walk home and she picks them up halfway. Now, she’s thinking twice about letting them do that.
“The first thing I said when I saw the news is ‘you guys won’t be walking anymore,’” said Ulloua.
The mother said her kids also play outside every day, since she feels like the neighborhood is very safe. That too will change, at least for now.
"I told them I don't think it's a good idea to go outside for a few days. I'm probably going to tell them to keep inside for a little while and I want to know specifically where you're at," she said.
Parent Sergio Romano said he’s concerned over why it took so long for the community to be notified of the attempted kidnapping.
"Two days after, three days, four days after -- that's not good. We should know immediately, as parents so we can protect our kids," Romano told NBC 7.
The suspect remains at large. If you have any information about the incident or suspect, call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.