A Southern California man was arrested this week on suspicion of molesting at least a dozen boys, police said Thursday.
Edwin Echiverria, 22, was arrested Wednesday in the 3500 block of South Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana, California, as he was leaving work, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.
Echiverria allegedly lured the boys to his apartment in the 700 block of South Lyon Street, by selling them chips, soda, and other items, police said.
Local news from across Southern California
"I know kids were in and out of his house because the doors were always open," neighbor Steven Huezo said. "The mom was nice, he was nice, everyone was friendly and they had chips and stuff so he would hang out with kids."
Echiverria is accused of taking advantage of the friendships he developed with the boys over time to convince them to engage in sexual activities with him.
Neighbors of Echiverria said they couldn't believe he would be accused of such a crime.
"I was just really shocked, I was like, Edwin? Honestly?" Huezo said. "I would have never suspected, honestly."
Detectives said they believe the molestations occurred beginning in the summer of 2012 and as recent as about two weeks ago.
Investigation revealed at least 12 victims and police believe more could come forward. The youngest victim was 10 years old at the time.
A parent alerted police of an inappropriate relationship between her young son and an unknown person. Investigations, including interviews of the child, led detectives to Echiverria and the other boys.
"The number of victims involved is this case is extraordinary," the Santa Ana Police Department said in a news release. "Detectives are not aware of any other Santa Ana cases involving a single suspect targeting such a large number of victims within memory."
Police could not immediately confirm whether Echiverria had an attorney. He was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.