Update 5 p.m.: The Sheriff has released a statement calling the students' report "unfounded." Here is the full statement:
After further investigation, Detectives have determined this incident near Lakeside Middle School was unfounded. There is no danger to the community. We thank the public and the media for their cooperation and understanding.
East County News Service
February 8, 2022 (Lakeside) – Public help is sought by the San Diego County Sheriff’s department to find a man suspected of trying to grab a child walking to school in Lakeside yesterday around 8 a.m.
Three students told deputies that while they were walking in the 11900 block of Woodside Avenue on their way to Lakeside Middle School, a black SUV pulled up next to them and a man in the backseat opened the door, then tried to grab one of the students.
“That prompted the students to run away from the vehicle and report the situation as soon as they got to Lakeside Middle School,” says Lieutenant Shawn Wray in a media release. “At this time, this is believed to be an isolated incident and there is no further danger to the community. However, deputies will be conducting extra patrols in and around Lakeside Middle School,” Wray said.
The man was dressed in black and is estimated at approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 160-170 pounds.
The black SUV, possibly a Chevrolet Tahoe, had silver wheels with a black and yellow license plate. It was last seen heading west on Woodside Avenue toward Riverford Road.
If you have information or surveillance video regarding this incident, please 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 has been offered for information that leads to an arrest.