Armando Sanchez, of the 8100 block of Forest Street, was arrested this morning for annoying or molesting a child younger than 18 and driving with a suspended license, both misdemeanors. Sanchez is a registered sex offender, according to police, but he did not show up on the Megan’s Law Web site, which tracks California sex offenders.
About 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, two girls reported that they were being followed by a Hispanic man in his mid-20s driving a white Ford Explorer or Jeep Cherokee without a front grill, police said. He followed them on the 7600 block of Hanna Street – between Third and Fourth streets – at least three times, slowing down each time to smile and give the peace sign to the sisters as they walked to their separate schools.
After the third loop, the man made a U-turn and drove northbound on Hanna Street toward the girls, who were walking in that direction. They crossed the road during his maneuver, though, causing the man to keep on driving, police said.
When the older sister kept on Hanna toward Brownell Middle School just a block north, she told her younger sister to stay close to a woman and another young girl walking west on Third Street toward El Roble Elementary School, which sits about six blocks west from that location on Wren Avenue.
Before the younger sister could make it to El Roble, though, the man drove by again – nearing her for the fifth time – and actually stopped near Third and Rea streets. According to the 11-year-old, who notified school officials who called police, the man stepped out of the SUV and yelled in English, “Don’t run. I’m not going to do anything to you.”
“She was obviously spooked by this, so she picked up her pace to catch up with the adult in front of her, and when he saw this, he drove away,” Sgt. Jim Gillio said.
Then, about 8:20 a.m today, one of the girls saw Sanchez near Brownell Middle School, police said. Officers responding to a call about the incident noticed a white Toyota SUV without a front grill. They followed it and stopped it near the intersection of Fourth and Church streets.
Officers brought one of the sisters to the scene, where she identified Sanchez as the man who followed her, police said.