Police Find New Motive in Ladera Ranch Park Attack

Investigators knocked on 700 doors in the past 24 hours

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Orange County investigators have been knocking on more than 700 doors in the Ladera Ranch area in search of any information about an armed attack against two young boys at Founder's Park. In doing so, officials learned that another case took place just two days prior to the incident on Sunday. Tena Ezzeddine reports from Aliso Viejo for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on March 12, 2013. (Published Tuesday, Mar 12, 2013)

    Investigators believe robbery, not sexual assault or kidnapping, motivated a man to threaten two 12-year-old boys at knifepoint at a park in Ladera Ranch, authorities told NBC4 on Tuesday.

    The attacker demanded one of the victims, who playing on the swing set, to take off his pants as the other boy ran away Sunday night, authorities said.

    Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigators believe this was an attempt to steal the contents inside the boy’s pockets, not a sexual attack or kidnapping attempt, as was previously thought.

    The incident does not appear to be a gang-related crime, authorities said.

    The boy escaped the man by throwing woodchips in his face and running away wearing only his t-shirt and underwear. He then alerted a passerby for help. The boy was not sexually assaulted, authorities said.

    Since Monday afternoon, investigators have knocked on 700 doors in the community near Founders Park, where the incident occurred.

    Investigators told NBC4 that they learned about another similar incident that occurred a few days before Sunday’s attack, but was not reported. During that incident, a man carrying a knife attempted to take off the pants of a boy near Founders Park.

    The park is adjacent to an elementary school, which has shared surveillance footage with investigators. The footage contains video of the assailant riding away on his bike after Sunday’s attack.

    He appears to be a young man (pictured at right) wearing a hooded sweatshirt, authorities said. Investigators released the grainy footage first to NBC4 Tuesday afternoon.

    Investigators will continue going door-to-door and handing out flyers in the Ladera Ranch neighborhood Tuesday night.

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