SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - There's a warning Tuesday for joggers in the East County. One woman says she was attacked, and several others say they were followed by a suspicious van.

The 19-year-old girl jogger says on September 5 around 5 p.m. on QuaIl Canyon Road in the East County, a van suddenly stopped in front of her.

"Someone gets out of the van, approaches the runner, actually grabs her. She feels he's trying to get her in the van and they fall to the ground, wrestle a little bit. She kicks herself free, runs up the hill, calls for help and the male takes off," Sheriff's Department Sgt. Tom Poulin said.

The victim's description led to a composite sketch and the search for a white van. But this story doesn't end there.

Sgt. Poulin says just five days later, a 48-year-old jogger reported being followed by a slow-moving white van, this time on Donahue Street in Cottonwood, where Donna Pietrzak has cut off her early morning walks.

"For sure I changed my habits. Who wouldn't? It would be foolish not to take precautions," she said.

Word of the incident has spread quickly through the Cottonwood community, with other joggers and walkers reporting similar incidents with a strange white van. Several leads have been forwarded on to investigators, who are looking at each and every one.

"Chelsea King -- it's a serious thing. We take everything serious, especially with something like this. We'll put as many people as we have to on it.," Sgt. Poulin said.

Sergeant Poulin says investigators checked GPS devices for registered sex offenders to see if any have been in the targeted areas, but that came up empty.

So for now, no suspects, but a warning for joggers. Be on the lookout for a white van, and remember safety in numbers. Don't jog alone.

If you have any information on this case, investigators say they want to hear from you. No matter how insignificant you think your tip may be, just contact the sheriff's department.


San Diego County Sheriff's Department
(858) 565-5200