Deputies nab man suspected of trying to grab child in Valencia

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies surround an older model Winnebago recreation vehicle in the Crossroads Shopping Center parking lot outside the Pei Wei restaurant near the intersection of McBean Parkway and Valencia Boulevard. The RV was the focus of a reported attemtped kidnapping a few blocks away. Austin Dave/The Signal

A man suspected of trying to kidnap a toddler was arrested in Valencia on Monday morning, authorities confirmed.

Shortly after 11:09 a.m., a 911 caller reported a man attempting to grab a child outside the Nordstrom Rack department store on the 27000 block of McBean Parkway, according to Lt. Doug Mohrhoff of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

George Starr, 60, was arrested on suspicion of attempted kidnapping, Deputy Josh Stamsek said. His bail was set $100,000.

The suspect apparently fled the scene in a tan 1970s van conversion RV after the child’s mother and witnesses intervened, Mohrhoff said.

BREAKING: Deputies working to detain possible attempted kidnapping suspect in Crossroads Shopping Center near Valencia Boulevard and McBean Parkway. Reporter Austin Dave is live at the scene.Read more here:

Posted by Santa Clarita Valley Signal on Monday, September 17, 2018

Several units, including a helicopter, were dispatched to the scene to locate the vehicle from both the ground and the air.

Deputies located the converted RV and set up a loose containment around the shopping center to prevent the suspect from escaping.

At 11:38 a.m., ground units with rifles and service weapons converged on the vehicle parked in the Valencia Crossroads Shopping Center on the 24200 block of Valencia Boulevard, a few blocks from where the alleged crime was reported.

Within minutes, the man suspected of trying to grab the child was located and taken into custody. The man is expected to be charged with attempted kidnapping, Mohrhoff said.

The lieutenant attributed finding the RV to “having a good description from the victim’s mother and witnesses” combined with having a helicopter and numerous field units from both the Santa Clarita and Castaic Parks Bureau stations saturating the area.

“It was a good team effort to locate the suspect,” he said.

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