WATSONVILLE — In two incidents that appear to be unrelated, two young teen girls walking alone were followed by men who drove up to them and tried to get their attention, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office reported.
On June 17, a man driving a silver car followed a 13-year-old girl walking on Capitola Road near Live Oak Elementary School approximately 9:30 a.m., and appeared to be trying to get the girl’s attention.
According to Deputies, the man followed her, honking his horn. The man pulled into a gas station on 17th Avenue, and the girl said he appeared to be waiting for her, deputies said.
The victim changed direction, and the man again began to follow her, honking his horn and at times blocking traffic behind him.
The man eventually drove away after following the girl for approximately one-half mile.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, 30 to 38 years old with facial acne scarring. The vehicle is described only as a silver car, of an unknown make or model.
On Thursday around 9:40 a.m., a 12-year-old girl walking in the area of Buena Vista Drive and Calabasas Road said a stranger driving a black truck offered her a ride several times, even after she refused.
The driver left but immediately turned around and again offered her a ride. The victim refused again, and the suspect left. She immediately reported the incident to the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies searched the area but were unable to locate the suspect.
The suspect is described as a dark skinned male, from 20-30 years old, with curly, short and dark hair. The truck is described at black in color
Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick Dimick said both girls did the right thing.
“We strongly encourage all incidents of this nature to be reported immediately to law enforcement via 9-1-1,” he stated in an email. “If a child is being followed we suggest they call 9-1-1 if they have a cell phone, go back to their home, and contact a trusted adult if they don’t have a cell phone.
Dimick said that anyone grabbed by a stranger should yell, scream and otherwise make a commotion and seek help from witnesses who should call 911.
“Parents should speak to their children about not trusting strangers no matter what they are told,” Dimick said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office Investigation Division at 454-2311, or the anonymous tip line at 454-2847.
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