WHITTIER (CBSLA.com) — A registered sex offender Wednesday allegedly tried to grab an 18-year-old girl in Whittier, but witnesses were able to hold him until police arrived.
Police identified the suspect as 41-year-old David Polanco.
Investigators are trying to determine if Polanco was involved in recent attempted kidnappings in the area, most recently a 12-year-old boy Tuesday and an 11-year-old girl last month.
Whittier police said they were called to the 6700 block of Greenleaf Avenue about 2 p.m. Wednesday. Authorities said the suspect allegedly tried to grab an 18-year-old and pull her into an alley.
Witnesses told police they saw the girl struggling with the suspect. They also told police Polanco tried to flee when they called 911, but a group of them were able to detain him.
Gabrielle Robledo said Polanco had been stalking her.
She told KCAL9 reporter Jeff Nguyen that she would go into a number of stores and each time she came out, Polanco would be there waiting for her.
“I couldn’t get away from him,” she said.
Good Samaritan Brian Hildago says he chased Polanco, but by the time he caught up to him, “he was already on the [ground.] An older gentleman, in his 60s, had him on the floor.”
Polanco is charged with kidnapping and is being held on $100,050 bail.
Police released Polanco’s mug shot because there may be other victims. They urge anyone who has had inappropriate contact with Polanco to call Whittier police.
Nguyen spoke to Robledo hours after the attempted kidnapping.
“I’m still shaking. Even though he’s in jail, I’m still scared. I’m still scared,” she said.