SANTEE, Calif. — A man believed to be the transient who allegedly abducted a Utah teenager was sighted regularly when he shopped alone at a San Diego County grocery store in recent weeks, witnesses told police.
Employees of Wrigley's Supermarket in unincorporated Lakeside remember seeing a man fitting the description of Brian David Mitchell, sheriff's Lt. Guy Chambers said Wednesday. Mitchell had been wanted for questioning in the disappearance of 15-year-old Elizabeth Smart, who was found Wednesday with him in Sandy, Utah, just miles from her home.
"Mitchell was sighted, by himself, several times in the store," Chambers told The Associated Press.
A Smart family spokesman told reporters in Salt Lake City that the 15-year-old girl also confirmed being in the area.
"Elizabeth told her father on being reunited with him that she spent some of the time she was abducted in San Diego," family spokesman Chris Thomas said.
He said the girl, snatched from her bedroom nine months ago, had no chance to escape.
"She said there was no way, she had two people with her at all times," Thomas said.
Chambers said San Diego County authorities have given Utah investigators the names of the witnesses they spoke with. He added that Salt Lake City police notified the San Diego County Sheriff's Department Wednesday afternoon that the girl had been found safe and Mitchell had been arrested.
Some Wrigley's workers recalled seeing a man who looked like Mitchell come into the store wearing a turban.
"I just know that he comes, buys a few things every week. Our cashier mentioned he comes like once or twice a week and buys some groceries and just leaves," store manager Duried Duban told KFMB-TV in San Diego.