Man arrested for trying to snatch 5-year-old girl had tried to kidnap 6-year-old girl at the same California mall, police say

California police who arrested a man for trying to kidnap a 5-year-old girl say that he was the same man who tried to kidnap a 6-year-old girl at the same mall in one week.

San Diego police said the suspect was captured on Thursday through the use of a license plate reading technology after the second kidnapping incident at the Westfield Mission Valley Mall.

‘An employee of the business heard the girl’s screaming and rushed to help her …’

The first incident occurred on Tuesday when a man followed a mother and her 6-year-old daughter who was pushing a stroller with her 8-month-old brother. At about 1:30 p.m. the man grabbed the girl and tried to walk away with her, but she cried out, and her mother confronted the man. He put the girl down before claiming that he had confused her for someone else and running away.

The mother reported the incident to security at Target and then called police. San Diego police said they were trying to identify the man when a second kidnapping attempt was reported at the same mall on Thursday.

At about 2 p.m. on Thursday, a man tried to carry away a 5-year-old girl after grabbing her in front of Inflatable World in the parking lot at the same mall. The man tried to put her into a vehicle, according to Lt. Daniel Meyer.

An employee of the business heard the girl’s screaming and rushed to help her, ultimately saving her. The man who had grabbed her drove away from the scene.

The car in the Tuesday incident was identified to be a black 2013 Chevy Volt while the vehicle involved in the second incident was only identified as black.

Two hours later, police said they pulled over the vehicle near Downtown San Diego that fit the description and matched the license plate. The driver was identified as their suspect and arrested.

He was identified as 42-year-old Arturo Rene Lujan by Meyer at a media briefing on Thursday. Meyer said that the man was charged with both kidnappings.

Although no one was physically injured in the incidents, Meyer said that the children involved were traumatized.

“We as a county provide quite a bit of resources for victims of crime,” he added.

Court records said Lujan was held without bail and is scheduled for arraignment in front of the San Diego Superior Court.

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