UPDATE: Authorities said David Polanco -- arrested on suspicion of trying to kidnap a homeless teen Wednesday in Whittier -- is not connected to previous attempted abductions in the city. Watch the complete report here.
A 41-year-old man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly trying to kidnap a teenager in Whittier, where a spate of attempted abductions has residents on high alert searching for the culprit.
Investigators said it was too early to determine whether David Polanco, a registered sex offender, is connected to the at least three other attempted kidnappings that have happened in Whittier since February.
An 18-year-old woman willingly spent time on Wednesday with Polanco (pictured below), walking with him in the Uptown Whittier area, police said. But then Polanco grabbed the woman around her waist from behind and tried to pull her into an alley about 2 p.m.
Witnesses spotted the struggle and called 911, which is when Polanco ran, authorities said. He was detained by several witnesses until police arrived.
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There have been a string of attempted kidnappings this month in Whittier. In all incidents, the victims managed to escape.
While playing on a swing set in Parnell Park, a 12-year-old boy was attacked Tuesday by a middle-aged man who put his hand over the boy’s mouth and put him in a chokehold. The boy’s older brothers punched, kicked and screamed at the man, who eventually let go and ran away, police said.
In February, an 11-year-old girl was pulled by a man into a red convertible, where a younger girl was already in the backseat, crying. The 11-year-old managed to escape and rescue the other girl.
That attack happened near Founders Memorial Park.
Hours earlier on Feb. 5, a man approached a 17-year-old girl and asked her to get in his car. She was able to run home and call police.
A sketch of the attacker in those two cases was released late last month.
It was not immediately known if Wednesday’s incident is connected to previous ones.
Polanco, of Whittier, was booked for kidnapping and is being held on $100,050 bail.
Because of Polanco’s sex-offender status, police said anyone who has had "any suspicious contact" with him should call the Whittier Police Department.