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Suspects in Encinitas Attempted Kidnapping are Friends: SDSO

It was quick thinking and bravery that saved the victim from being taken away

Two men suspected in the attempted kidnapping of a teenager in Encinitas have been arrested, confirmed investigators Friday.

Officials with the San Diego County Sheriff's Department (SDSO) said one man, who was arrested Friday morning, appears to have been the suspect who sat in a truck across the street, while his friend attacked the girl. 

The 15-year-old girl fought off a man during an attempted kidnapping in Encinitas Wednesday.

On Friday morning, deputies surrounded a suspicious truck in Cardiff. Neighbors in the area spotted the truck and saw two men who matched the suspects' descriptions.

A phone tip around 11 a.m. led investigators to the 1600 block of Summit Avenue, just a couple of miles from where the girl was attacked. Deputies cordoned off the area around Summit Avenue, south of Santa Fe Drive.

The truck was impounded, and the driver was arrested pending charges in connection with this case.

The man arrested was identified as 26-year-old Christopher White; he was the man in the composite sketch released Thursday night.

Deputies were able to find out who the second man was by speaking to White.

Jeremiah Owens, 27, was arrested around 6:40 p.m. at his home in Escondido.

Owens and White are friends, SDSO spokesman Ryan Keim said.

Both were booked into the Vista Detention Facility on charges of kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, false imprisonment, assault with the intent to commit rape and conspiracy.

"I can't stress it enough, that the community is involved in this, and that 's what really made this happen so quick," said Keim.

One neighbor, Kimberly Alkhas, said she knew something was strange about the men.

"I saw two shirtless guys, and we live in a beach community. That isn't normally unusual, but something seemed off," said Alkhas.

The teenager was waxing her surfboard in her driveway around 5:30 p.m. in the 1600 block of Neptune Avenue when a man came up to her from behind and pinned her to the ground, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

The suspect tried to drag her toward a pickup truck, parked along Grandview Street, where another man was inside, deputies said.

It was quick thinking and bravery that saved the victim from being taken away. Neighbors said the suspect's car was only a few feet away from her. She was able to fight off her attacker, run inside and lock the door.

NBC 7
Deputies surrounded a suspicious blue truck in Cardiff.

Many neighbors in the tight-knit beach community were shaken by the incident. Some surfers said they were aware of what happened, especially since it happened to a fellow surfer.

One surfer, August Neumey, told NBC 7 the whole neighborhood has been working together to find the suspect.

"The whole surfing community is coming together to catch the guys," said Neumey. "All the surf dads are posting pictures with the sketch of the guy."

The victim's father said the incident is a parent's nightmare. He and his wife rushed home by boat after their daughter called them. They were 200 miles away at the time.

Another surfer, Jenifer Finkelstein, said it is important to pay attention to your surroundings.

"Pay more attention and look around more," said Finkelstein. "See who is around and maybe surf with friends more."

The father of a 15-year-old who fought off an attempted kidnapped in Encinitas is warning other parents to be aware. NBC 7’s Dave Summers has the story.
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