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El Cerrito Police Department
Wednesday January 30th, 2019 :: 11:28 a.m. PST


Press Release: Suspect arrested for an attempted sexual assault of two juveniles on January 24, 2019.

ECPD CASE# 2019-320

On Thursday, January 24, 2019, officers from the El Cerrito Police Department were dispatched to the area of Manila Avenue and the BART path on the report of an attempted kidnapping. Officers arrived on scene and learned two juveniles, ages eight and nine were walking along the BART path behind one of the girls’ father. While walking along the BART path adjacent to the DMV building, 42-year-old, Freddy Penate-Melara of Richmond approached the two girls. Penate-Melara grabbed one of the girls by the arm, but she was able to break free. Penate-Melara then grabbed the second girl, pinned her on the ground and began to choke her. Penate-Melara then fled southbound on the BART path when the father was alerted to the incident.

Moments after the call was received by dispatch, an ECPD officer located the Penate-Melara near the entrance to the DMV. Penate-Melara was positively identified by a witness and subsequently arrested.

While at the ECPD, investigators spoke with Penate-Melara and learned he had intentions to sexually assault the girls. Penate-Melara was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility and was formally charged by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office on Friday. Penate-Melara remains in-custody with his bail set at 2.5 million dollars. Anyone who may have witnessed the assault or has information is encouraged to contact the El Cerrito Police Department Detectives at 510-215-4400 or email

El Cerrito Police Department
10900 San Pablo Ave
El Cerrito, CA 94530

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 510-237-3233

Captain R. De La Campa
Administrative Services

6400 Manila Ave
El Cerrito, CA 94530

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