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Deputies search for suspect in attempted kidnapping outside Vista ice cream shop

San Diego County sheriff's deputies
Posted at 9:49 AM, Mar 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-07 22:11:53-05

VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is searching for a man who reportedly tried to kidnap a 13-year-old girl Saturday.

According to the department, the man tried to coax the victim to go with him while she stood in front of the Water Shack ice cream shop in Vista around 6:30 p.m. (note: the press release initially said the incident happened at 8:30 p.m., but a spokesperson corrected that time).

“After repeatedly attempting to coax the victim to come with him, the unknown suspect reached out and grabbed her by the sweater,” authorities said.

The young girl was able to escape and run inside the business where her older brother was waiting.

The suspect fled from the scene on a scooter. Deputies searched the area, but were unable to locate the suspect.

Scott Widdes, owned of Water Shack, said they've had their family business there for about six years and other than the occasionally graffiti, it's a generally safe neighborhood.

"Great family area and during the summertime this street is packed with people walking with their kids and everything so it’s really rather safe overall," said Widdes.

The victim described the suspect as a white male, roughly six feet tall with a thin build. He is approximately 30 years old and was last seen wearing a dark-colored beanie, dark zip-up hoodie, and dark pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Widdess said he hopes someone has information so this person can be caught.

"It’s crazy because again we really feel good about being here and helping in the community and overall it’s a great area but then you hear things like that and it makes you a little concerned," said Widdes.