Teens’ plot to catch man suspected of seeking underage sex ends in kidnap, authorities say

A 17-year-old girl was kidnapped in Vista
A 17-year-old girl was kidnapped in Vista after a failed plot by a group of teens, authorities said.
(Los Angeles Times)

A 17-year-old girl was kidnapped in northern San Diego County after a group of teens hatched a plan to gather information on a man they believed was seeking underage sex. But the plan went awry, a sheriff’s official said.

The kidnapping was reported at a Starbucks on East Vista Way near Monte Mar Road in Vista about 2:30 p.m.

When deputies arrived, they were told the teens — two 17-year-olds and one 18-year-old — had used a social media app to contact a man they said was seeking sex with underage girls, San Diego County sheriff’s Sgt. David LaDieu said.


“The group hoped to expose the male and turn over the information to law enforcement agencies for prosecution,” LaDieu said.

The teens made contact with a 32-year-old man identified as Robert Dreyfus and exchanged a series of text messages, authorities said. They eventually agreed to meet at the Starbucks, LaDieu said.

Investigators believed Dreyfus persuaded the 17-year-old girl to “get into his vehicle to talk” before driving off without her consent, the sergeant said. The teen sent a message for help to the others, who then called 911. Deputies made contact with Dreyfus on his cellphone, and he pulled over about two miles away on East Vista Way.

Deputies rescued the teen, who was unharmed, and detained Dreyfus, LaDieu said. He later was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, sending harmful matter to a minor and communication with a minor for specific offenses.