The Coast News Group

Scruffy stranger grabs teen in apparent abduction attempt

OCEANSIDE — A 16-year-old El Camino High School student managed to escape a man who jumped her and put her in a bear hug as she was on her way to class yesterday morning, authorities reported.

The girl was walking to the east on Mesa Drive in Oceanside shortly before 7:30 a.m. when the stranger — a thin, unkempt man who appeared possibly homeless — walked by her in the opposite direction near Vanilla Way, police spokesman Tom Bussey said.

Suspect sketch

Once past the teen, the stranger turned around and grabbed her from behind, Bussey said. During an ensuing struggle, they fell to the ground, after which the girl was able to break free and run to safety.

The victim described the would-be abductor as a balding, roughly 5-foot-9-inch, 150-pound white man in his 50s.

The perpetrator, who had a scab on right side of his neck, was wearing baggy, dirty black jeans and a tan pullover sweatshirt with a zipper at the chest.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Oceanside police Detective Brandon Baird at 760-435-4690.