WATSONVILLE – A Watsonville man was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly “preyed” on a teenage girl as she walked to school, the Watsonville Police Department announced Wednesday.

Marcos Avalos, 24, was charged with annoying/molesting a child. He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail in lieu of $3,500 bail.

Watsonville police take Avalos into custody

According to the WPD, Avalos approached the girl on four separate occasions in the area of The Towers building at 294 Green Valley Road. At one point Avalos forced the girl to shake his hand. In addition, he complimented her beauty during every single encounter, the WPD said.

A WPD School Resource Officers got involved and forwarded the case to the Investigations Division.

Detectives arrested Avalos outside his home late Wednesday afternoon.

On its Facebook page, the WPD had a message for parents and guardians.

“Please talk to your kids about the importance of reporting any suspicious people approaching them. This arrest was possible because the brave student spoke up,” the message read.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Nelson Hernández at 768-3358.

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