Bail was set Wednesday at $1 million for a Tacoma man accused of raping an 8-year-old Federal Way girl after he kidnapped her from her school playground.
Benjamin H. Trinh, 28, was arrested Tuesday at his South Tacoma home for investigation of first-degree child rape, kidnapping and child luring.
Trinh was unknown to the girl’s family and was reportedly seen hanging around and interacting with children at the Olympic View Elementary School playground for several days. Police are not aware of other victims.
A nationwide Amber Alert was issued Monday night for the girl after she disappeared. It was canceled after she walked home around 10:30 p.m. Monday.
Trinh raped the girl at his home, according to a probable cause statement Wednesday. He showed the girl pornographic movies and had sexual activity with her including rape, according to police documents.
Trinh confessed to police that he kidnapped and raped the girl, according to the documents. Federal Way police said he also stated he had pictures of himself having sexual activity with the girl.
Trinh, who was booked into King County Jail in Seattle, did not appear at his bail hearing Wednesday.
He is not a registered sex offender and has no prior offenses other than one theft conviction, police spokeswoman Cathy Schrock said.
He was arrested after a clerk at the Target store in The Commons at Federal Way saw a picture of the girl and read the description of the suspect from a TV news alert link sent via text message to her cellphone, Schrock said.
The employee recognized the girl in the Amber Alert as having been in the store with the suspect, Schrock said. The employee told her store manager, who in turn called police, Schrock said.
Trinh and the girl were recorded together on store security video. He was identified by a purchase he made with a credit card at the store, documents said.
Prosecutors have until Friday to charge him.
Police initially believed the girl was unharmed upon her return home because she did not appear physically injured and showed no signs of being upset, Schrock said. The girl denied anything suspicious had occurred, Schrock said.
Through investigation and interviewing Trinh, police gathered evidence that there was probable cause that he sexually assaulted her at his home, Schrock said. Police arrested him there around 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Police believe Trinh drove the girl back near where she lived, and she walked home from there.
She returned home with a Scooby-Doo DVD that Trinh had purchased at Target when he was with her, Schrock said.
The third-grader had been playing on the playground at her school, Olympic View Elementary, 2626 S.W. 327th St., when she disappeared about 7:10 p.m. Monday.
She had been seen with an unknown man about 30 minutes earlier. Police believe Trinh is that man.
The Amber Alert was issued at 9:30 p.m.
Some children reported that the suspect had been hanging around the playground next to the school for several days, according to a letter from Olympic View Principal Cindy Dracobly that went home with students Tuesday. Children reported to police that the man had been speaking to kids and taking pictures of them.
In a second letter students took home Wednesday, Dracobly updated parents that a Tacoma man unknown to the girl’s family had been arrested.
“We are thankful our student is home with her family, and that the police have located the person who may be responsible,” Dracobly wrote. “I cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of talking with your child about interactions with strangers.”
She listed two examples of websites “about how to teach your child about ‘stranger danger.’”
Federal Way Public Schools spokeswoman Diane Turner said that since the kidnapping, a counselor and teachers have been talking with students about the danger of interacting with strangers.