PETALUMA – According to a press release by the Petaluma Police Department (PPD), a man who had followed a girl home from school three weeks ago has been apprehended.
An earlier news release and “school alert” issued by the PPD said that the man had approached the girl in the vicinity of Petaluma Boulevard South and F Street. The suspect had rolled down his passenger window and offered the girl a ride. She refused the man and continued walking southbound on Petaluma Boulevard.
The suspect continued to follow the girl and repeatedly offered her a ride despite the girl’s refusals. The man became aggressive and more insistent that she get into his car as he started “leap-frogging” ahead of her path of travel. Ultimately he started to demand that the girl get into his car and the girl then began to run from the suspect.
The girl headed west on Mountain View Avenue and the suspect initially continued to follow her in his vehicle. He then turned around and headed back towards Petaluma Boulevard South.
The victim reported at the time that the vehicle was possibly a white Toyota Prius with a “Hello Kitty” logo and a “stick-figure family” decals on the rear hatchback which may have been ajar. The suspect was described as a dark male with short hair and an acne scarred face wearing reading glasses.
An alert citizen reported seeing a car matching the description of the vehicle in the news release. PPD Investigations arranged for the victim to view the vehicle and its owner. The girl positively identified both the vehicle and suspect involved in the incident.
Carlos Antonio Cruz, a 27-year-old San Francisco resident was subsequently arrested for stalking and harassing a child. Cruz is now being held on $100,000 bail at the Sonoma County Main Detention Facility.