An unknown man allegedly tried to abduct a 16-year-old girl walking through the Southwestern College campus in Chula Vista Tuesday morning, offering the girl $200 to get into his truck, police confirmed.
Security cameras captured clear photos of the suspect's white SUV. Southwestern College released those images Tuesday afternoon in hopes of finding the driver.
Southwestern College Police Acting Chief Dave Nighswonger said the victim -- a continuation student who attends the nearby Bonita Vista High School about a mile away -- was walking home at around 9:15 a.m., cutting through the community college campus, when a stranger in a white pickup-style truck approached her.
Nighswonger said the suspect told the teenager he'd give her $200 if she got into his car. The girl refused and the situation quickly escalated.
Nighswonger said the man used his SUV to cut off the teen, then allegedly got out and grabbed her. The teenager fought him off and escaped. The man got back into his car and sped off.
Southwestern College, which is located at 900 Otay Lakes Rd., issued a campus-wide safety alert Tuesday morning detailing the alleged crime.
According to the alert, the suspect approached the student as she walked near the H Street entrance of the campus.
When he fled, he drove eastbound on H Street. He’s described as a Hispanic man in his 30s with a neatly trimmed beard and mustache. He was wearing an orange construction vest, the campus alert said.
In one of the photos released by school police, the suspect's orange vest can be seen.
Nighswonger told NBC 7 the attempted abduction occurred in a zone where there is a lot of construction happening. He said there are many people in the area wearing construction vests and driving pickup trucks, making the search for the suspect particularly challenging.
As of 12:15 p.m., no arrests had been made. Nighswonger said all of the construction workers in the area had been accounted for and none had been identified as the suspect.
Southwestern College Police reported the incident to the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) about an hour after it happened. The college said the student left the campus after the incident and came back around 10:15 a.m. to contact police. She used an emergency contact pole located near the scene of the crime to call campus police.
Southwestern College officials said campus police reviewed security videos throughout the morning and discovered that images of the suspect had been captured on video.
School police said the suspect's vehicle is a 1980s-model Chevy Blazer. Rather than a license plate on its front bumper, the Blazer had a placard with the red and white diver down flag on it.
CVPD Capt. Fritz Reber said there have not been any other attempted abduction reports in the area besides this incident at the college.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information can reach out to Southwestern College Police at (619) 216-6783.
The student was not harmed.
Southwestern College superintendent and president Dr. Kindred Murillo said campus police had been tenaciously working on the case and, with the images found on security tapes, they now "have stronger leads to pursue."