Man accused of trying to kidnap teen at bus stop faces judge

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SAN DIEGO — A man accused of grabbing a 17-year-old girl off of a North Park street corner and making a failed attempt to drag her into his SUV was charged Wednesday with attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment and misdemeanor child annoyance.

Thomas Louis Salas, 38, is also accused of groping and secretly recording another 17-year-old girl about 10 days before the alleged May 31 attempted kidnapping, according to Deputy District Attorney Zachary Wallace.

Salas, who pleaded not guilty, remains in custody in lieu of $750,000 bail pending a June 19 bail reviewing hearing.

He faces 14 years in state prison if convicted of all charges, Wallace said.

Salas allegedly approached the teen, identified only as Jane Doe 1, at 30th Street and El Cajon Boulevard about 7:15 a.m. on the last day of May with his light-blue 2011 Ford Escape parked nearby, its engine running and one of its doors open.

After making casual conversation with the teen, Salas extended his hand, San Diego police Lt. Charles Lara said. When she reached out to shake it, the suspect allegedly took hold of her arm and pulled her toward his vehicle. She resisted and managed to break free, then ran to safety, Lara said.

Wallace said that about 10 days prior, Salas allegedly approached another teenager — identified in court as Jane Doe 2 — and began “aggressively hitting on her,” even after learning she was 17 years old and still in high school. He repeatedly asked for her social media information and at some point, grabbed her breast, the prosecutor alleged.

Around 40 videos were found on Salas’ cell phone, in which women and teenage girls on the street were secretly recorded, including Jane Doe 2, with the videos often focusing on the subjects’ breasts and buttocks, Wallace alleged.

Police said there is a high likelihood that there are other alleged victims who have yet to come forward, and urged anyone with information about the case to contact investigators at 619- 516-3066.

Salas is a heavyset, 5-foot-9-inch, roughly 220-pound Latino with “squinty” eyes, Lara said. On his right arm, the suspect has a large tattoo of a cartoon face inside a sunburst or flame design. At the time of the alleged attempted kidnapping, he had a goatee and facial stubble, according to police.

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