Man, 76, accused of molesting children

Tito Pimental Callanta arrested Saturday

VISTA, Calif. - A 76-year-old man was in custody Monday for allegedly molesting one preschooler and attempting to do the same to another in a condominium complex near his North County home.

Tito Pimentel Callanta of Oceanside was arrested Saturday on suspicion of victimizing the two girls, ages 3 and 5, at an apartment complex in the 4200 block of Tiberon Drive on separate occasions last month, according to police.

In both cases, Callanta allegedly used his two small dogs to lure the children behind a commercial trash bin for purposes of committing lewd acts on them, Oceanside police Lt. Leonard Mata said.

On Oct. 21, the suspect allegedly made a failed attempt to molest the older girl, who fled and reported what had happened to her parents. While detectives were investigating those accusations, they learned that Callanta allegedly had molested the younger child under similar circumstances earlier in the month.

One of the girls' mothers told 10News, "He took her behind the Dumpster and asked her to lift up her skirt and show him her panties. He then tickled her."

The mother said she was relieved that her daughter wasn't physically hurt.

The complex is full of children, many of whom were playing outside with no adults present. Most said they were aware of the incidents involving Callanta.

Adults in the complex said Callanta was often seen walking his dogs, but rarely stopped to talk.

"It's not like he would say come over here and see my dogs," said Ruben Garcia.  "He was quiet, kind of just kept to himself and was like, don't bother me."

Jenny Garcia said she's appalled by what happened.

"It goes to show that you just don't know who your neighbors are. I'm just shocked," said Garcia.

He was booked into county jail in Vista on suspicion of child molestation charges and a kidnapping count involving the older girl. He was being held on $500,000 bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Police believe there may be more alleged victims in the case and asked anyone with information to call Detective Joe Ingorvaia at (760) 435-4824.

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