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Suspect arrested following attempted kidnapping at shopping center

A man suspected of trying to kidnap a child in the Mission Valley Mall area was arrested Thursday, the same day a second attempt was reported, authorities said. (SkyFOX/KUSI in the Sky)

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — A man suspected of trying to kidnap a child in the Mission Valley Mall area was arrested Thursday, the same day a second attempt was reported, authorities said.

Rene Lujan was arrested on suspicion of Tuesday's attempted kidnapping, Lt. Daniel Meyer of the San Diego Police Department said at a news conference Thursday.


The first attempt occurred around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday near Buffalo Wild Wings in Mission Valley, when a woman was walking next to her daughter, who was pushing her younger brother in a stroller, and a man began following the family, police said. The man then grabbed the six-year-old and tried to run away with the girl, police said. The victim was able to scream and cry, prompting the suspect to release the girl and flee westbound through the mall and get into a vehicle, according to police.

Police were able to obtain a description of the suspect vehicle as a black 2013 Chevrolet Volt with a license plate number “7VBS762.” Armed with this information, authorities received an alert from their license plate technology system Thursday and stopped on state Route 94 eastbound to arrest the suspect.

Another kidnapping attempt took place near the children's inflatable play area in the Mission Valley Mall parking lot on Thursday, where a man described as being about 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds with a beard and glasses tried to take a five-year-old girl. and put her in a vehicle, police said. He was last seen wearing an orange and white shirt and beige shorts.

Police say the suspect's description is similar to the suspect in Tuesday's incident. Meyer would not confirm whether the two kidnapping attempts were related.

“It's pretty rare, especially when you're talking about this type of case in itself happening twice in the same location, potentially by the same suspect or someone who looks like the previous suspect,” Meyer said.

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

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