WHITTIER (CBSLA.com) — A registered sex offender allegedly tried to grab an 18-year-old girl in Whittier Wednesday and witnesses held 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 a 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.
Authorities said the would-be victim met the suspect earlier in the day and spent several hours in his company. But Gabrielle Robledo said Polanco was stalking her.
She told CBS2/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,” said Robledo.
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 in lieu of $100,050 bail.
Police released Polanco’s mug shot believing 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 and she said, “I’m still shaking. Even though he’s in jail, I’m still scared. I’m still scared.”