Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies announced Tuesday they’re searching for victims of an attempted kidnapping, following the arrest of a Valencia man.
On Saturday, Feb. 22, deputies arrested Christyn Kato, 40, of Valencia, for investigation of attempted kidnapping and child annoyance, according to the Sheriff’s station in a news release Tuesday.
The incident stemmed from a report deputies investigated Feb. 19, when a man driving a blue pickup truck allegedly pulled up next to two 13-year-old girls who were walking home from school in the area of Market Street and Railroad Avenue in Newhall.
The female victims said that the suspect asked them if they were OK and if they needed a ride. The suspect allegedly placed his vehicle in the crosswalk, blocking their path despite the victims declining any offer.
Deputies learned that the suspect had contacted one of the 13-year-olds earlier in February by pulling up next to her, initiating small talk and offering a ride. Based on this information, deputies worked to identify, located and arrest the suspect, according to Sheriff’s Station officials.
“There’s three separate incidents involving five different teenagers,” said Lt. Ignacio Somoano of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “They were in groups, with the first incident occurring on Feb. 10 in Newhall.”
Somoano said Kato is believed to have tried two more times Feb.19, approaching teenagers walking in groups.
Law enforcement believes the same suspect may have approached other teenagers and offered them rides or attempted to entice them into his vehicle.
“Once we learned about three separate incidents … it made us think there’s a likelihood that there’s more victims … that didn’t report it to anyone,” Somoano said. “If anyone was the victim of this stranger offering teenage girls a ride, pulling up next to them in a pickup truck, we encourage them to reach to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.”
“We are asking the public to contact the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at (661) 255-1121 if they have any information about this suspect or similar crimes,” the news release read.
To provide information anonymously, one can call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.