A frantic e-mail circulated through the community Monday night, reporting a second kidnapping attempt in Santa Clarita that day. This morning, sheriff's officials verified that another dangerous incident had taken place.
Shortly after 5 p.m., an 11-year-old Santa Clarita Valley boy was walking westbound in the 29200 block of Las Brisas Road in the Tesoro del Valle area when a silver sedan pulled up behind him.
According to Sgt. Cortland Meyers of the Santa Clarita Sheriff's station, there were two people in the car; both male Hispanics, one between the ages of 18-20 and the other between 30-40 years of age. When the car pulled up near the boy, the younger suspect got out and told the boy to quickly get into the vehicle.
The victim's mother, Darla Burns, disputed the information in the police report, saying that her son told deputies that there were three suspects in the car.
The boy ran away and the suspect got back into the car, which followed the boy for about 50 feet until the boy took a cell phone from his pocket and called his mother, running westbound on Las Brisas.
The suspect then made a u-turn and fled the area. The vehicle is described as a silver, 90s model, Toyota or Nissan, four-door sedan with circular dents on the front fender and front and rear passenger side doors. The vehicle had a California license plate, possibly beginning with the number 5.
The boy continued walking, and was picked up by his mother.
After talking with the boy, his parents took him back to Tesoro del Valle school in an attempt to warn other students and their parents. According to Burns, the administrator left a message at the district office.
The incident was reported to the sheriff's department an hour later. Deputies converged on the area and searched for the suspects' vehicle, but were unable to find it.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials want to reiterate the importance of immediately dialing 9-1-1 when any incident of this type is occurring.
"The deputies will have a better chance of immediately apprehending the perpetrator if you do not delay in calling authorities," said Sgt. Darren Harris, spokesman for the Santa Clarita Valley station.
The earlier incident occurred in Newhall, where a 15-year old girl was accosted by a 40-year old Hispanic man driving a white car on Meadowridge Drive near Newhall Avenue who attempted to pull her into his vehicle. She kicked the man and was able to run away; he also left the scene undetected. Detectives are actively investigating both incidents.
By taking a few precautions, you can greatly reduce the risk to yourself, and also discourage those who are intent on committing crime. The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station officials are offering the following personal safety tips:
- Always be alert and aware of the people around you, especially if you are alone or it is dark.
- Educate yourself concerning prevention tactics.
- Be aware of locations and situations which would make you vulnerable to crime, such as alleys, dark parking lots, and remote unlit or sparsely traveled walkways and pathways.
- Whenever possible, travel or walk with a friend.
- Stay in well-lighted areas as much as possible.
- Avoid doorways, bushes, and alleys where someone could hide.
- Walk confidently, and at a steady pace.
- Do not respond to conversation from strangers on the street when other risk factors are present, continue walking.
- Don't set a pattern - use different routes of travel and varying times when walking, exercising, or leaving your house or place of business.
- Immediately report suspicious activity or persons in your neighborhoods to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station.
- Be a good witness - Try to get a vehicle license plate number. If you can't get the vehicle license plate number try to get as much identifying information about the vehicle or person as you can. Such as, color, make, model, damage, type of rims, stickers, etc. pertaining to vehicles. Clothing, scars, tattoos, oddities, etc. pertaining to people.
- Take a cell phone picture or video of the person or vehicle if you can safely do so. Save/store the information in your phone or PDA.
- Write down license plates of unfamiliar vehicles in your neighborhoods in case something comes of them at a later date. The information may solve a case should a crime be occurring.
- Immediately call 9-1-1 and use your cell phone if you have one as a deterrent.
Anyone with information regarding this incident should immediately contact the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station at (661) 255-1121.