Source: San Diego Sheriff
May 20, 2023 (Santee) -- Detectives with the Sheriff's Child Abuse Unit and the Santee Sheriff's Station want the public's help in identifying and locating a man wanted for groping a child in Santee. The alleged incident occurred on Thursday, May 18 just before 4:00 p.m. near Big Rock Park in the 8100 block of Arlette Street.
“A 12-year-old student from Chett F. Harritt School was walking towards the park when a man approached her,” says Lieutenant Anthony O’Boyle. “The man inappropriately touched her chest. A friend who was with the victim tried to intervene by pushing away the suspect. He took off on an electric black and gray scooter. He was last seen going eastbound towards Mesa Road.”
The child went home and told her mother about the incident who then called the Santee Sheriff's Station. Deputies immediately searched the area with Sheriff's ASTREA helicopter overhead. The man was not found. The Sheriff's Child Abuse Unit is now handling the investigation.
The suspect is described as a 20-year-old Hispanic man standing around 5'7" tall and weighing approximately 160 pounds. He has short hair and a mustache. He was last seen wearing a black jacket and black pants.
Deputies will be conducting extra patrols around Chett F. Harritt School and Big Rock Park starting on Monday, May 22.
“Parents, talk to your children about stranger danger,” Lt. O’Boyle advises.
He offered these safety reminders:
- Use the buddy system and avoid walking alone.
- Parents should plan, map out and practice safe routes with children before they head out on their own.
- Teach your children not to talk to strangers.
- Remind children to stay off cell phones. They should be able to hear their surroundings when walking to school or a bus stop.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel you are being followed or something is not right, seek help immediately.
- If a stranger grabs you, drop to the ground, kick, hit, bite or scream. Do whatever it takes to grab the attention of others who can help you.
- Go to a trusted adult, a teacher, coach, parent, older sibling or law enforcement for help and report the incident immediately.
Anyone who might have been in the area at the time of the incident and has information or surveillance video that could be helpful to this case is asked to call the San Diego County Sheriff's Department at (858) 565-5200.
You can also call the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477. A reward of up to $1,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.