LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Police Tuesday issued a warning to San Fernando Valley teen girls about a sex predator believed to be responsible for at least seven sex crimes and two attempted kidnappings.
Incidents involving the suspect dated back to September 2011. Of the seven crimes reported, five had occurred within the last two months, Los Angeles police said.
“On one occasion the suspect walked up behind a young woman walking to her home and grabbed both of her legs in an attempt to lift her off the ground. The victim struggled with the suspect and was able to break away,” police said in a news release.
Other incidents include reports of the suspect masturbating in his car while trying to attract teenage girls near Arleta High School.
“The man came out completely naked,” said student Ana Rangel, who encountered the man while walking to school with her sister.
She said the man jumped out of his car and exposed himself.
“He was like shaking his thing at us and just giving us a smirk,” Rangel said.
The girls’ mother said she was disgusted and that she no longer let her girls walk to school.
“It’s just been a nightmare, you know, to have my kids see what, they saw,” said Ilisa Portillo.
Authorities said the suspect was targeting girls, 14-17 years old, walking by themselves in the hours before and after school.
“Anytime you have an individual who preys on children, I think you have a huge, huge danger,” said LAPD Captain Todd Chamberlain.
He was described as a male Hispanic or Asian with short curly black hair with some gray in it. He was said to be 5 feet 6 inches tall, 160 to 200 pounds, and 25- to 40-years-old.
Police said they believe the suspect drove a 2000-2010 red compact car, such as a Honda, Toyota, or Nissan. The license plate was covered during some of the incidents.
“It is possible that there is a second suspect who drives the suspect around,” police said.
Anyone with information about these incidents or the suspect was asked to contact Mission Area Detective Juan Santa at (818) 838-9893.