Man who tried to lure teenage girls in Escondido sentenced to eight years

VISTA (KUSI) — A man who tried to lure a number of underage girls into his car in Escondido, and succeeded in getting a young woman to get into his vehicle, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in state prison.

Spicer Van Allen Conant, 46, pleaded guilty last month to felony charges of kidnapping, contact with a minor with intent to commit a sexual offense and unlawful possession of an assault rifle.

The defendant, who will be required to register as a sex offender for life, expressed remorse for his actions and apologized to his victims, even though there were none in the courtroom, said Deputy District Attorney Garret Wong.

Conant was arrested during a traffic stop in Escondido the morning of March 21, 2017, minutes after an 18-year-old woman agreed to get into his red 1994 Mazda Miata convertible. In the trunk of the suspect’s car, police found an assault rifle and about 1,000 rounds of ammunition, Lt. Justin Murphy said.

Beginning in May 2016, Conant drove up alongside girls and women on various Escondido roadways, asked them for directions to nearby streets or freeways and then urged them to get into his car, Murphy said.

Following the first several suspected abduction attempts, which involved girls ages 15 and 16, police identified Conant as the suspect via a cellphone photo taken by a witness, Murphy said.

Though they ultimately decided that no crimes had occurred during those incidents, detectives interviewed Conant and put out a public bulletin seeking other potential victims. None came forward, and the case was closed, the lieutenant said.

Last March 15, a man matching Conant’s description and driving a red older-model Mazda Miata approached a 27-year-old woman and asked her for directions, Murphy said. After she complied with his request, the driver began insisting that she get into his vehicle to show him the way. Growing suspicious, the woman took a photo of him with her cellphone, at which point he drove off. Murphy said.

Due to the clear similarities with the earlier suspected abduction attempts, detectives put Conant under surveillance.

About 6:30 a.m. on March 21, Conant left his home, drove into Escondido and approached five female pedestrians — four of them minors — over a period of about 90 minutes, the lieutenant said.

The first four declined his exhortations to get into his car, but when the fifth pedestrian consented, officers promptly pulled Conant over and took him into custody, Murphy said.

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