Sex Offender Uses Old Puppy Behind the Building Trick to Lure 9-Year-Old into Car
Any faith we had in the creativity of sex offenders is now gone thanks to a Mesa perv who's still using the promise of puppies to lure children into cars. The scary part is that it actually worked.
Jeffrey Van Wagoner -- a convicted sex offender who's already served 13 years in prison for molesting a child -- was arrested yesterday after he allegedly kidnapped a 9-year-old girl he found playing with a friend near her home in Mesa. To lure the kid to his car, Van Wagoner told her he'd found a puppy and tied it up behind an apartment building.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, the victim and her 11-year-old friend were playing near their homes when Van Wagoner approached the girls in a small, orange car.
Van Wagoner told the girls he'd found a black puppy and wanted to know if they knew to whom it belonged. He told the girls it was tied up behind the building and asked them to follow his car and he'd show them the dog.
The girls followed Van Wagoner behind the building, at which point he grabbed the 9-year-old's arm, pulled her into the vehicle, and fled.
The other girl rode her bike to the victim's house and told her parents, who called police.
Shortly after swiping the girl, Van Wagoner let her go on East Gilbert Road, where she ran to a house and had the resident call her parents.
The girl gave police a description of Van Wagoner's orange car and he was pulled over shortly after releasing the girl. He was stopped because he was driving an orange car, which isn't too hard to spot -- especially when the driver of one kidnapped a kid and every cop in town is looking for him.
Both the victim and the witness identified Van Wagoner as the person who'd abducted the girl.
After identifying Van Wagoner, the victim told police she "had never been so scared in her entire life."
Van Wagoner, a level 2 sex offender, has been charged with one count of kidnapping, He's being held on $250,000 bail.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.