Victor Joseph Espinoza, a 425-pound gang member with an equally large rap sheet, is a accused of attempting to kidnap a 10-year-old boy on his way to soccer practice Friday evening, KABC reports.
Police in Santa Ana, Calif., said that Espinoza, 55, allegedly approached the boy and his 19-year-old cousin as they were walking to a local park. Espinoza grabbed the boy by both arms and pulled him close to his body. The boy managed to break free after a struggle, and ran to alert his soccer coach, who went looking for Espinoza.
“The little boy came crying at me, saying that man wanted to take him. He said that he grabbed him and he started smelling him,” the coach, who wished to remain anonymous, told ABC Los Angeles. “I’m a parent, I worry about my kids, and I thought that I had to do something.”
According to CBS Los Angeles, the coach found Espinoza by a bike trail, confronted him, and attempted to restrain him, but the suspect escaped.
In infrared footage from a police helicopter, Espinoza can be seen crouching under a tree in the backyard of a nearby home shortly before police arrest him.
KCAL reported that the abduction attempt happened in a well-lit park with many parents and soccer players around, and that Espinoza had attempted to abduct another child, a girl, earlier that evening. She also got away.
Santa Ana police office Antony Bertagna described Espinoza to ABC News as an “old school, old time gangster” with more than 60 prior arrests over 30 years. Some of Espinoza’s prior arrests include drug possession, assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder, according to Bertagna.
Espinoza is being held on $100,000 bail, and faces charges of false imprisonment, child annoyance, and added charges since he is a known gang member.
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