A San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy’s patch. Courtesy of the department

A teenager was kidnapped Sunday afternoon in Vista when an online sting operation planned by a group of youngsters went wrong.

Robert Dreyfus, 32, was arrested in connection to the incident and booked into the San Diego County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, sending harmful matter to a minor and communication with a minor for specific offences.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the 17-year-old victim and a group of juveniles used a social media application to contact an older man who allegedly was looking for girls for sex.

Apparently, the youngsters were hoping to expose the man’s intentions and turn the information over to law enforcement as evidence to be used in prosecuting him, Sgt. David LaDieu said.

Authorities said that after exchanging messages and agreeing to meet at a location on E. Vista Way near Monte Mar Road, Dreyfus convinced the victim to get in his vehicle to talk. Once the minor was in the vehicle, he immediately drove away.

The victim was able to text a help message to the group, who then contacted authorities. Sheriff’s deputies called the suspect on his cell phone, and he pulled over on E. Vista Way before Corvalla Drive — several blocks from where the incident began.

Authorities said the victim fled the vehicle, and that deputies arrived quickly after and detained the suspect.

The victim was unharmed, LaDieu said.

— Staff Report

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