Man suspected in two attempted kidnappings near Mission Valley Mall

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — The suspect arrested following Tuesday's attempted kidnapping near the Mission Valley Mall is now suspected of involvement in a second attempt in the area, police said Friday. San Diego.

Police arrested Rene Lujan, 42, on Thursday on suspicion of trying to kidnap a six-year-old girl two days earlier near Buffalo Wild Wings on Camino Del Rio North. Police say around 1:30 p.m., the child was walking alongside her mother, pushing her younger brother in a stroller, when a man grabbed her. He carried the girl a short distance before she started screaming, then he let her go and fled through the mall, police said. Police were able to obtain a description and license plate number of the car the suspect fled in.

On Thursday, police said a second kidnapping attempt took place around 2 p.m., this time near a children's inflatable play area in the mall parking lot. Police said a man tried to carry a five-year-old girl and put her into a vehicle.

Shortly after, the police department's automated license plate scanning system detected the suspect vehicle in downtown San Diego. Police then located Rene Lujan, 42, on State Route 94 near Home Avenue and took him into custody.

When police announced the arrest Thursday evening, the department was still working to determine whether the second attempt was related. But on Friday afternoon, police said that “through the investigation, SDPD was also able to connect the suspect to this incident.”

Anyone with information about the case was asked to call the department's Eastern Division at 858-495-7900 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

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