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Neighbors speak on sex offender's arrest

June 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Neighbors of an 80-year-old registered sex offender who was arrested Saturday for allegedly trying to kidnap a girl say the news came to them as no surprise.

Keith Wayne Holmes was taken into custody for allegedly trying to lure a 12-year-old girl into his vehicle by offering her a ride on Pearblossom Highway and 85th Street. When she refused, he allegedly continued to drive slowly alongside her.

"At that point the mother of the victim was alerted and asked what was going on," said Dep. John Gilbert of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "The suspect drove away in rapid fashion. A witness was able to obtain a license plate."

When deputies stopped Holmes a short time later, they searched the car and found duct tape, gloves and rope. Holmes said he uses those items for his hobby of building boats at his home.

Holmes, who was on probation for a 2009 conviction of annoying or molesting a child, denies talking to the girl.

When asked if he was going to harm the girl, Holmes said, "No. God knows, so help me God."

"I've actually seen him driving around in his little truck actually looking to pick up kids," neighbor Charity Mackiwicz said.

Holmes lives in the unincorporated Los Angeles town of Pearblossom, just one block from Pearblossom Elementary School.

"It's kind of scary, kind of awkward living here having children, especially because he lives in the area so close to the school," Mackiwicz said.

Other neighbors of Holmes said they can't believe he intended to do anything bad.

"He's always been a good person to me, a decent person. I've never seen any problems out of him," neighbor Rick Ellis said.

Holmes' family and friends refused to comment.

Holmes was being held on $1 million bail.

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