Predator targeting girls in Mid-City

LOS ANGELES Police said the predator is targeting girls in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles, and the attacks are all similar. He approaches the victim early in the morning as they are walking to school and entices them to apartment buildings.

"He's very friendly to them. He's friendly enough where he's able to gain their trust," said LAPD Det. Monica Cross.

The latest incident was on Wednesday when a 10-year-old girl was approached near Beverly Boulevard and Commonwealth Avenue on her way to Commonwealth Avenue Elementary School at about 7:20 a.m.

Video from an apartment building surveillance camera shows him walking with the girl. He lured her to an apartment building on the 100 block of S. Commonwealth Avenue and attempted to assault her. However, he ran off when the girl resisted. Police said she went to school and got help.

On July 10, the suspect approached a 10-year-old girl near Hoover and Third streets at about 7 a.m. Police said he somehow enticed her into an apartment building in the 300 block of S. Hoover Street. He took her to the roof, but something startled him, and he suddenly departed.

In April 2008, he attempted to assault an 8-year-old girl in the 600 block of S. Burlington Avenue, and in February 2008, there was another attempt near James M. Wood Boulevard and Hoover Street.

Police believe all four assault attempts were carried out by one man.

"We do ask parents to talk to their kids," Cross said. "Hopefully, they can have a conversation with them and have them walk to school in groups. If possible, take them to school and drop them off, and remind them not to go with strangers and remind them of basic safety issues."

Commonwealth Elementary sent out notices to parents, urging them to be on the alert and to not let children walk to school alone.

"I never had any worries whatsoever until yesterday, I heard in the news that he's been around for like a year," said parent Cheryl Molina.

"That's real distributing to me because we live a couple of blocks from here," she said.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man with brown hair and brown eyes, at least 5 feet 6 inches tall, about 170 pounds, and between the ages of 25 and 45.

Anyone with information is urged to call (877) LAPD-24-7.

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