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Cops: 425-pound gang member tried to kidnap boy

NEED TO KNOW
  • 425-pound gang member allegedly attempted to kidnap a 10-year-old boy on his way to soccer practice
  • Victor Espinoza, 55, is facing false imprisonment, child annoyance and gang enhancement charges
Cops: 425-pound gang member tried to kidnap boy

Santa Ana Police said a 425-pound documented gang member attempted to kidnap a 10-year-old boy on his way to soccer practice at California park last Thursday, according to a press release.

The suspect, 55-year-old Victor Joseph Espinoza, is facing false imprisonment, child annoyance and gang enhancement charges.

The 10-year-old victim was walking to soccer practice at the park with his 19-year-old female cousin when Espinoza lured the boy close enough to grab him, according to the police press release.

After screaming for help and trying to break free of Espinoza's grip, the boy was eventually able to escape and ran to the park to tell his soccer coach what happened, police said.

The boy's coach told authorities he tackled Espinoza onto the street after he found him at the front of the park, the press release stated. However, the 425-pound man was able to break free from the coach's grip and fled the scene, police said.

Investigators said infrared helicopter footage obtained by HLN affiliate KABC-TV shows the suspect hiding under a tree in a backyard shortly before his arrest.

Espinoza was "hiding behind some trees, obviously thinking he is concealing himself," Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertanga told HLN affiliate KCAL9.

"The little boy came crying at me, saying that man wanted to take him," the coach told KABC-TV. "He said he grabbed him and started smelling him...I'm a parent, I worry about my kids, and I thought I had to do something."

Bertanga described Espinoza as an "old school, old time gangster" with more than 60 prior arrests in over 30 years, ABC News reported.

The Orange County Public Defender's Office told HLN Espinoza has not been assigned an attorney yet.

Espinoza is being held at the Orange County Jail on a $100,000 bond. 

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