Authorities are looking for a man who approached a young girl in Alpine and tried to lure her into his car. Image courtesy of San Diego Sheriff’s Department

Authorities warned the public Wednesday to beware of a man who tried to lure a 12-year-old girl into his car in the East County highlands last week.

The child reported that a stranger in a red baseball cap pulled up alongside her in a primer-gray four-door car as she was walking home from the Alpine Youth Center about 4 p.m. Friday. She told investigators he gestured for her to get into the vehicle and asked her about her mother’s whereabouts, according to sheriff’s officials.

Frightened, the girl ran off into a nearby apartment complex along with her 8-year-old brother, who had been walking a few feet behind her. A woman found them hiding near a laundry room and asked them what was going on.

Moments later, the unpainted sedan drove up, and the woman approached the driver and asked him why he’d tried to get the girl into his car. He responded by shouting expletives at her and driving off, investigators said.

The girl described him as a thin, roughly 40-year-old white man with short brown hair and arm tattoos that possibly included the words “mom,” “dad” and “Mary.”

Anyone with information relevant to the case was asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. Tipsters may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

— City News Service

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