Stranger danger incident reported in Naples Park area

Reporter: Taylor Smith Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a report of a stranger offering a girl a ride home from her bus stop in Naples Park recently.

The incident was reported by the girl’s father, according to the sheriff’s office.

The man said on three separate occasions someone in a black vehicle had been in the area when his daughter was getting off the school bus and offered her a ride.

The most recent incident happened last Thursday. The same black vehicle was in the area Monday. The vehicle traveled slowly up and down the road. The girl called her mother who advised her to walk up a driveway if the vehicle went near her.

The girl told detectives that she did not see the driver, but based on their voice, she believes it is a woman. The girl could not provide much more information except that the vehicle had tinted windows.

This is the same neighborhood where investigators say a man attacked or attempted to lure at least five females of different ages in November 2020. While the cases are likely unrelated, Naples Park families say all of the scary cases are changing their lives.

Families told us they are basically staying home. They are picking up their children at the bus stop or having kids walk in packs because they don’t feel safe in the neighborhood anymore.

“It’s changed my daughter’s life,” Sara Portillo said.

Portillo says it’s important to teach children what to do when a stranger comes near them.

“I have always taught my daughter, ‘If I didn’t tell you, you didn’t hear from me; don’t get in nobody’s car,’” Portillo said.

But the concerning things happening in their neighborhood have them staying inside.

“She’s scared to go on a walk or bike ride,” Portillo said.

Now, a young girl’s father reported another frightening incident. Parents says these things are happening too often.

“It’s very concerning because, not too long ago, we had a man that was suspected of going after joggers and women in particular,” Teresa Bright said.

With the five attempted kidnappings last year and another young girl targeted, the community is concerned and hopes something can be done.

“I think it’s extremely sad that kids can’t be in a safe neighborhood getting off a bus,” Ann Gargano said. “It’s our neighborhood. It’s our home. We want to keep our children safe and our families safe.”

Investigators told us there is no reason for them to believe the attempted luring incidents toward the end of 2020 and this recent one are connected, but they are looking into all possibilities.

The investigation is ongoing, and CCSO is enhancing patrols in the Naples Park area.

Anyone with information call Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 239-252-9300, or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward, call Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).

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