LADERA RANCH (CBSLA.com) — The suspect in an attack on a 12-year-old boy in Ladera Ranch may have been a teenager trying to rob the child, rather than an adult sexual predator.
The teenage suspect, who may have been caught on surveillance video, told a boy on the playground of Ladera Ranch Elementary School to take his pants off, possibly in an attempt to rob him, Orange County Sheriff’s investigators said.
He’s believed to be the same teenager who robbed a boy in the area two days earlier in a previously unreported crime.
“The suspect closely matches the description of the suspect from Sunday,” Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said. “He was armed with a knife. He did order a very young victim, a male, to remove his pants, but in that case, the victim stated that the suspect was going through his pockets.”
Detectives initially reported that a 12-year-old boy had been kidnapped Sunday night by a man in his 20s at the playground at Ladera Ranch Elementary School and that the attack was sexual in nature.
Further investigation determined that the motive was robbery.
“Is it any easier that it might be a child?” resident Pete Rasic said. “I think it’s still a bad situation. But maybe better to know that it’s not an adult victimizing these children.”
The suspect remains at large.