What at first appeared to be an innocent approach by a man on a red bicycle, turned into a frightening situation for a 12-year-old girl on the Peninsula on Thursday.
The girl was walking near the intersection of Douglas and Fair Oaks avenues, in the North Fair Oaks community of Redwood City when the suspect approached on a bike and asked the girl if she was lost, San Mateo County sheriff's officials said.
He then told her, "Don’t worry, I’ll take you," before trying to grab her arm. But the girl stepped back and ran several blocks to Fair Oaks Elementary School, reporting the incident to a summer counselor, sheriff's officials said.
Neighbors were speechless on Friday when they heard about the kidnapping attempt, and were grateful that the girl was able to get away. The incident serves as a reminder to be alert, they said.
"I always tell my daughters not to walk alone, try to have a friend with them all the time or a dog or something," Redwood City resident Natalie Vachhieri said. "If a person comes by and tries to talk to you, just keep going."
Deputies searched the area Thursday, but turned up empty.
The suspect was described as a white male adult, 30 to 40 years old. He has a thin build with blond hair, no shirt, white and red striped shorts and riding a red bicycle.
Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Sheriff’s Detective Lisandro Lopez at 650-363-4055 or Llopez@smcgov.org. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Anonymous Tip Line at 800-547-2700.