With some members alluding to the recent kidnap-slaying of a 10-year-old Beaumont boy, the City Council approved a $25,000 reward Wednesday for information leading to the arrest of a man believed to have sexually assaulted a 7-year-old boy at a North Hills fast-food restaurant.
"It's an appropriate time to be mindful that there are those in society who don't care about young children," said Councilman Richard Alarcon, whose district lies just east of the crime scene. "You would think that they could go to the restroom in McDonald's and be safe, but in this world that's not always true."
The boy was having dinner with his family March 30 at a McDonald's in the 8300 block of Sepulveda Boulevard when he got up to use the restroom, according to police reports. A man loitering nearby entered the restroom and assaulted the boy in a stall before leaving the restaurant through a side door, police said.
Grainy video from a surveillance camera mounted near the side door of the restaurant was televised repeatedly in the alleged assault's wake.
"I remember when I was a kid, about 6 or 7 years old, I'd hop on the streetcar and go downtown. But today I wouldn't dare let a child do that," said Councilman Hal Bernson, who grew up in Boyle Heights and now represents part of North Hills and proposed the reward. "This is one of the most heinous individuals we have out there today."
Los Angeles Police Det. Gary Barthelmess said investigators are seeking a suspect described as white, about 25 to 35, with thinning brown hair, brown eyes and glasses. The man is estimated to stand 5 feet, 8 inches and weigh 160 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call (818) 756-8291 during the day or (818) 756-8285 after business hours.