PHOENIX - A 38-year-old man has been arrested, accused of trying to lure two young girls for sex at a Phoenix apartment complex.
Phoenix police say a 10-year-old girl was playing soccer in the courtyard near Thomas Road and 36th Street around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday when Pedro Lopez-Marroquin grabbed offered her money for "something." He held up a $100 bill and she ignored him
He allegedly grabbed her by the arm and she pulled away.
Police say the 10-year-old then watched as Lopez-Marroquin walked up to a 13-year-old girl near the mailboxes.
Police say the 13-year-old girl said he told her to go to his apartment for sex as he held up the $100 bill again. The 13-year-old then ran for help.
"I was outside and she came up to me and told me that a man was offering her money for sex," said April Aguilar.
Aguilar said when she looked out into the courtyard Lopez-Marroquin was still there, so she grabbed her brother to confront him.
”He was there with his foot on the wall he was still looking at a bunch of kids playing soccer, I said 'What the hell are you doing? What are you thinking about? Why are you trying to take them'," said Joseph Aguilar.
Aguilar said Lopez-Marroquin denied offering the girls money for sex and when Aguilar told him he was on the phone with police, Lopez Marroquin ran.
"So I chased him and chased him. I was on the phone with the cops the whole time," said Aguilar.
Aguilar went on to say that Lopez-Marroquin tried hiding in a bush, "I started yelling come out, come out, I got a gun, but it was my cell phone," said Aguilar.
Lopez-Marroquin was taken into custody by responding officers and identified as the man who had attempted to lure the girls, according to police.
The suspect admitted his involvement in the incident and was booked into jail charged with luring a minor for sexual exploitation and aggravated assault. He also had a felony warrant for drug charges, according to police.
Parents near the apartment told ABC15 that this isn't the first time men have approached young girls. Several parents said that there have been several situations where men either approach the girls or harass them by making "cat calls" or sexual comments.
A 12-year-old told us that it has happened to her several times and once even when her mom was present.
The term for this kind of behavior is called "street harassment." Often times young girls and women don't take it seriously and are embarrassed. Parents are urged to encourage their children to tell them even if someone is making harassing statements or gestures so they can keep track if there is a pattern that could be indicative of a serious predator.
In some cases that kind of behavior can be considered harassment under the law and be subject to prosecution.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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