Police officials in Temecula, California arrested a registered sex offender, Robert Francis Baker, 68, of Hemet, who was attempting to lure a 12-year-old girl into his car, according to NBC Los Angeles.
While an off-duty officer, whose name has not been released, was present at an intersection of Pauba Road and Linfield Way at around 3:15 p.m. Friday, August 12, he spotted “a suspicious adult male driving slowly alongside a 12-year-old female pedestrian.”
The off-duty officer approached the man after “sensing something was not right,” questioning him about his suspicious behavior.
When deputies with the Temecula Police Department arrived at the scene, Baker was detained while an investigation ensued.
Police uncovered that he was a registered sex offender.
According to the California Department of Justice, Baker has a prior conviction of “lewd or lascivious acts with a child younger than 14.”
However, information regarding the year of his conviction was not made available.
The California Megan’s Law website indicates that Baker “was not on active probation or parole at the time of the incident.”
Afterward, the man was taken to the “Temecula Police Station for further investigation and interviews by sheriffs’ investigators.”
After an interrogation, police concluded that when the registered sex offender was slowly driving his vehicle alongside a young girl, he was trying to lure her into his vehicle, but was unsuccessful when an off-duty officer intervened.
It was not immediately made clear if the child was questioned about the incident, but Baker was arrested and transported to the Southwest Detention Center, according to The Press Enterprise.
He is being charged with “one felony count of annoying or molesting a child.”
A similar incident occurred in North London when 32-year-old Abdelrazek Badran, who is a convicted child rapist, posed as a police officer to lure a child.
However, in this case, there wasn’t an off-duty officer to save the child.
Badran was able to lure the child and rape her at knife-point. He executed the crime six more times on several young girls until he was captured by police.
He executed the crime six more times on several young girls until he was captured by police.
Prosecutor Anthony Orchard stated that “the offenses were all committed on school children between the ages of 10 and 12 years old at the end of the secondary school day.
“Over time the offenses escalated in scale and seriousness. It appears the longer the defendant remained at large, the bolder he became.”
Police officer Shaun Egan, who described the rape attack as “horrendous,” stated that the young girl is now “wary of men, doesn’t leave her house much and keeps crying.”
The convicted rapist is being held at the county jail and will be sentenced next month.
The girl who Baker reportedly tried to lure into his vehicle could have been scarred for life if the off-duty officer would not have taken action.
In a press release, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Fredericks wrote: “Investigators petitioned the court for a bail increase and were successful in getting Baker’s bail set at $1,500,000.”
“The Temecula Police Department would like to remind the public to remain constantly vigilant of suspicious behaviors and activities, and to frequently educate and remind your children of appropriate safety practices.”
“Always report suspicious persons and activities as soon as is practical.”
On August 16, the sex offender is scheduled to make a court appearance for his arraignment at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.
If anyone was in the area during the time of the incident and saw what happened, you are urged to “contact Sergeant Steve Fredericks of the Temecula Police Department at (951) 696-3000. Callers can refer to incident file number TE162250215 and can remain anonymous.”
“Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Crime Tips online form.”
[Image via Riverside County Sheriff’s Department]