A 43-year-old man pleaded not guilty Monday to trying to kidnap a 6-year-old as she blew bubbles in front of her Glendale home, police said.
Mario Moreno faces one felony count of attempted kidnapping and one misdemeanor count of child molesting, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
He was arrested Wednesday after a neighbor allegedly saw him try to grab the girl in the front yard of her home in the 400 block of West Milford Street, according Glendale police.
Moreno, a transient from Los Angeles, grabbed the girl’s arm and told her to leave with him as her parents were inside their home, police said.
But a neighbor quickly intervened and urged Moreno to let go of the girl, police said. He did and walked away.
“Luckily, a neighbor was looking out for this family,” Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.
Neighbors followed Moreno until officers arrived to the scene, police said.
“It all comes down to being vigilant in your neighborhood,” Lorenz said. “It’s about knowing who belongs in your neighborhood and who doesn’t.”
The girl was not harmed, but Lorenz said she was “extremely terrified” about the incident.
“I don’t care where you live — in a gated community or an urban neighborhood — you need to keep your eyes on your children,” he said.
Moreno has an extensive criminal history, with several convictions for burglary, petty theft, drug violations and driving under the influence, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.
He was also convicted in 1995 for battery and twice for resisting arrest in 2011, according to court documents.
He is being held in lieu of $140,000 bail. Moreno is scheduled to appear July 9 in the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Burbank.
-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News