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Suspect arrested in attempted kidnapping of teenage girl

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Police arrested the man suspected of attempting to kidnap a 13-year-old girl Tuesday as she was walking home from school in San Diego's Otay Mesa West neighborhood.

Police arrested 50-year-old Jose Plascencia Thursday morning around 8:30 a.m. He was located in the 600 block of Dennery Road.

“He’s being charged with felony attempted kidnapping,” said SDPD Captain Alberto Leos.

Leos credited diligent police work and the victim's quick response for the man's capture:

“Knowledge of the community -- knowledge of suspects investigated in the past -- led us to this individual. She reported it right away, she did not wait or hesitate which got us on the case right away to start our investigation right away."

The teenage girl was walking home from Montgomery Middle School on Otay Mesa street when a man grabbed her by the arm and made a failed attempt to pull her into his van.

Officers arrested Plascencia Thursday morning on suspicion of felony attempted kidnapping and an unrelated misdemeanor warrant, Leos said. He was booked into the San Diego Central Jail a little after noon Thursday.

“Thank god he’s gone and off the streets,” said Alberto Ayala.

Ayala lives nearby, and he said the incident made him concerned for his young cousin, who also attends Montgomery Middle School.

“My younger cousin -- she’s a girl, she’s small. The girl that fought off the guy, she’s probably small too,” Ayala said.

He told FOX 5 he wasn’t just worried for his cousin, but also for other children in the area. As a tutor at Montgomery High School, and as someone who grew up in the area, the case hit too close to home.

“You see this kind of stuff on the news and on social media, but you never think about that happening here,” said Ayala.

Jail records showed Plascencia was being held Friday morning in lieu of $220,000 bail on suspicion of felony attempted kidnapping and misdemeanor counts of annoying a child and sexual battery.