A South Bay community is on alert following a suspicious incident that sent a teen girl running for help. George Kiriyama reports.
A South Bay community is on alert following a suspicious incident that sent a teen girl running for help.
At about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Morgan Hill police said a 15-year-old girl was walking home on Monterey Road when a man in a white van drove alongside her and got out.
"(He) started walking toward her rapidly," Morgan Hill Police Sgt. Carson Thomas said. "He reached out toward her and said, 'Hey, beautiful.' She kinda saw him on the back as she looked over her shoulder and then immediately ran into a restaurant asking for help."
That restaurant was Dutchman's Pizza and Pasta. Owner Jim Shuster is happy his place became a sanctuary for the scared teen.
"Well, I'm happy that she was able to find a place and I'm happy that we were here and we could comfort her and keep her safe," Shuster said.
Police said the suspicious man got back into his van and drove off. Investigators released a sketch of the man hoping someone may recognize him.
Monterey Road is usually busy late in the afternoon with cars on the road, along with walkers and joggers on the sidewalk.
Just over a year ago police said there was another man driving around in a white van trying to pick up on teenagers. He was never arrested, but investigators said the person in that case had a different description.
And with the abduction and disappearance of teenager Sierra Lamar nearly two years ago, this latest incident has many residents alarmed.
"If that were my daughter, it would be very frightening," said Lisa Marie Flores, who works at Dutchman's Pizza and Pasta. "I wouldn't want my daughter to be walking after that. It would probably change a whole lot of things as far as lifestyle goes."
Police describe the man as a South Asian-Indian in his mid 30s and standing 6 feet tall. The van he was driving was a full-size white work van with tinted windows.