Eugene Melendres Ramos, a 36-year-old registered sex offender, allegedly grabbed the girl at about 1 p.m. Wednesday inside a Dollar Tree store located at 1720 Decoto Road, according to Union City police.
The victim was with her grandmother and aunt at the store. When they went to return a ribbon to a Christmas-themed aisle, the girl walked around the aisle and out of view, and was grabbed by Ramos, police said.
Less than a minute later, the grandmother and aunt noticed the girl was missing, and found her pinned down by Ramos in the next aisle over. The girl had her pants and diaper removed and was being straddled by Ramos, who had pulled his pants and underwear down and was sexually assaulting her, according to police.
Ramos fled the store on foot and was chased by the grandmother, aunt, and several customers. A solicitor in front of the store also gave chase when he exited the building and tackled him, police said.
A BART police officer who happened to be nearby was flagged down by the small group detaining Ramos. He was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, rape, sexual acts with a child, and false imprisonment, police said.
Ramos is scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning in the Fremont Hall of Justice. He is being held at Santa Rita Jail on $350,000 bail, according to county records.
The officer who made the arrest, Kory Frost, a 28-year veteran of the BART Police Department, thanked the Good Samaritans at the store for helping detain Ramos.
“A lot of people are saying that I did a good job, and I appreciate that. But the heroes are the citizens, not me,” Frost said in a statement.
According to California’s Megan’s Law website, which lists registered sexual offenders, Ramos has previously been accused of assault with intent to commit rape, sodomy or oral copulation.
Anyone who might have witnessed the crime is asked to call Detective Sgt. Jared Rinetti at (510) 675-5229. People wishing to remain anonymous can call the tip line at (510) 675-5207 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo of Frost: BART
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News