Officers were looking for a man who tried to kidnap a 13-year-old girl as she was walking home from school Thursday afternoon in northeast Modesto, a police spokesman said.
After fighting off her attacker twice, the girl ran home, said Modesto police Sgt. Rick Armendariz. She was not injured.
The incident occurred about 3:15 p.m. as the girl walked along the 2700 block of Mill Oak Drive, just south of Floyd Avenue and west of Lawson Drive in northeast Modesto.
Armendariz said the girl spotted a tan four-door midsize car pull up alongside her before it stopped next to a cluster of mailboxes.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Modesto Bee
The girl thought the car looked suspicious, so she crossed the street and continued to walk in the same direction, passing the car. Armendariz said the car drove past the girl, made a U-turn and parked near her.
"He got off the car and went up to the girl, asking 'Is there anything wrong?' before he grabbed her arm," Armendariz said.
The girl freed herself and started running away, but the man reportedly caught up to her. He grabbed her arm a second time and tried to pull her into his car, Armendariz said.
The girl freed herself and ran home. She told her parents, who called police. Officers searched the area but did not find the attacker.
Police described the man as Latino, 30 to 40 years old, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and medium build. His hair was cut short on the sides but about 2 inches long and curly on the top of his head.
Police said there was nobody else in the man's vehicle. Officers canvassed the neighborhood Thursday evening, looking for witnesses.
Modesto police notified Modesto City Schools officials about the incident. Armendariz said officers will provide extra police patrols today near schools.
He said children should walk with a friend to and from school, and he asked parents and school officials to keep an eye out for suspicious people near schools or parks.