The incident happend around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on Dayo Court, a quiet cul-de-sac. The little girl's mother called the incident crazy.
"My daughters and I were playing outside and this guy was walking by and he started talking about how pretty my daughters were, and the nationality and all that. He knelt down to talk to my 3-year-old and he just picked her up by her ankles and started pulling her from me," she recalled.
The mother wrestled her daughter back from the man. "I couldn't get her away fast enough. Her boots fell off. Her pants were coming off because he was pulling hard enough," she said. She ran into her house and called police. The man ran away and hasn't been found yet.
"A person like this needs to be taken off the streets," San Jose police spokesman Albert Morales said. "We need to identify him as soon as possible so that this doesn't happen again."
The suspect is described as as a Hispanic male between 20 and 30-years-old, 5'6" tall, with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a red baseball cap, blue jeans, and a white or light-colored shirt with yellow stripes. The mother also told police he smelled like motor oil.
"Our concern is that if he's willing to be as brazen as he was yesterday evening, who's to say he won't do it again," Morales said. "We want to make sure that doesn't happen."
Neighbors became emotional when they spoke about the incident Wednesday, "It's your kid," one woman said. "You've got to fight for them."
"I'm a little rattled, but I'm OK," said Aaron Ippolito, the mother's roommate and friend. "The mom is OK and the baby's fine, so I just want to respect their privacy," he told ABC7 News.
Neighbors are now talking to their own kids about what happened and giving lessons of safety. "We're telling them just defend yourselves. Scream, kick, the things we tell you not to do to your friends, it's OK to do when a stranger tries to take you from your parents," one man said.
Anyone with information regarding this case are urged to contact the San Jose Police Department's Robbery Unit at (408) 277-4166. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at (408) 947-STOP (7867) or may visit tipsubmit.com and may be eligible for a cash reward.