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Public Safety

Attempted Kidnapping Sparks Search In Chula Vista

A man grabbed a 14-year-old girl on a South Bay roadside today, but the teen broke free and fled, authorities reported.

The teen, a student at High Tech High in Chula Vista, was walking to school along Eastlake Parkway about 8 a.m. when she noticed the would-be abductor trying to get her attention while slowly driving by in a Ford pickup truck with a trailer attached, police spokesman Bernard Gonzales said.

The man whistled at the girl while tooling past, then turned left onto Birch Road, after which she lost sight of the vehicle, according to Gonzales.

Minutes later, the truck reappeared as the student was walking along Discovery Falls Drive. The man then slowed down, yelled "come here" and motioned with his arm for her to come to him, Gonzales said. The girl ignored him and kept walking.

At that point, the stranger parked the pickup, walked across the street and seized the teen by the arm, Gonzales said. She responded by kicking and elbowing the man, prompting him to let go.

The girl then ran about a quarter-mile to her school, where she told administrators what had happened.

"The victim was upset and shaken, but she was not injured, " Gonzales said.

She described the assailant as a roughly 5-foot-5-inch, 200-pound Latino in his late 20s or early 30s, with a mustache and wearing a gray baseball cap and zipped-up gray jacket.

The truck he was driving was a "beat-up" tan, older-model Ford F150 with yellow lettering on one of the doors, towing an empty black flatbed trailer with a possible license number of 4KW5935.