A neighborhood is on edge after another attempted abduction in Bradenton. A stranger tried to grab an 11-year-old girl as she walked to her bus stop.
It's a busy street swamped with kids, but safety in numbers didn't protect the girl early Wednesday morning. Deputies say she was almost snatched by a man driving a white van, while she was walking to her bus stop along 5th Street East in Bradenton.
Parents were alerted about what happened from an automatic phone message from the school.
"He told the girl he had some candy, reached out, grabbed her by the arm, and the girl broke free and got away," parent Giovanni Cipriana said Thursday.
The incident comes just days after another close call involving a little girl. Eric Vericella's daughter was playing under their carport when he says a stranger stopped his car and tried talking to her.
"He stopped, backed up, and I heard his window go down," Vericella said.
The man didn't see 5-year old Layla Vericella's dad, when he rolled down his window and tried handing her a pink teddy bear.
"I think he was trying to catch me and take me away," Layla Vericella said.
The Vericella's home is just a little more than four miles from the site of the bus stop attempted abduction. Manatee County Sheriff's Office hasn't ruled out that the two cases could be connected.
While they continue their investigation, parents are keeping their little ones close.
"It's just crazy. That guy is a real sicko. When they get him they need to take him away and throw away the keys," Cipriana said.
The suspect in Friday's incident was described as a white male, between the age of 55-65, and driving a gray Mercury Grand Marquis. The suspect from Wednesday's bus stop incident was described as an older man with gray hair, driving a white van.
Anyone with information is asked to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at 941-747-3011 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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