A fare inspector came to the aid of a female minor who told the transit official she was being held against her will on a light-rail vehicle in San Jose Tuesday, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
While checking proof of payment on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority train at the Orchard light-rail station at 2995 N. First St., fare inspectors found a girl who had an expired VTA youth pass and no identification on her, sheriff's officials said.
A man with her also did not have proof of payment and both were asked to deboard the train.
Off the train the girl told a fare inspector she was being held against her will by the man, which prompted a call to the sheriff's transit patrol.
Officers arrived and arrested 23-year-old Merced Pacheco, of Santa Clara, on suspicion of unlawful intercourse with a minor and false imprisonment.
The girl, who was listed as a missing person, was taken into protective custody, sheriff's officials said.
Sheriff's Capt. Robert Schiller in a statement today praised the fare inspectors for their help preventing a potential "heinous crime from continuing."
The case also highlighted VTA's "Safe Place" program, which aims to provide residents with a refuge to ask for assistance from any transit employee no matter the situation.