Suspect at Large, Safety Lesson Reminder

Deputies say four young girls may have saved themselves with their quick thinking when they were approached by a man who solicited lewd behavior. Deputies say when the stranger approached the four girls inappropriately, they screamed and ran for help. The man drove away.

Authorities hope all youngsters follow their smart actions as an example. The Leon County Sheriff's Office says that reaction probably kept them from harm. It all started when a man took pictures of them after buying a cup of lemonade from their stand in Harbinwood Estates Monday afternoon. The man asked one of the girls to expose her breast.

Amanda Helton, a neighbor, said, "It's a pretty quiet neighborhood, so I felt like it was pretty safe. It's kind of alarming to find that out. You really have to know about your surroundings and be cautious. I will definitely now be more aware of myself."

Authorities say 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, who was kidnapped, raped and killed in 2004, may have been saved had she only screamed for help. Surveillance video shows Brucia quietly walking with a strange man from a Sarasota car wash.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office says children should always scream, draw attention, and try to run away if a stranger tries to grab them or makes them feel uncomfortable. They say it is never too soon for parents to teach them that.

Shannon Pifer, a mother of four, said, "My oldest is about to be nine, then I have a six-year-old, three-year-old, and one-year-old. Sadly, in this day and age, you have to talk to them about stuff like that. Make them aware of if something happens like that that frightens them; they need to scream and yell and let somebody know what's going on."

All four of the girls were under the age of 12. Deputies say not only should you start telling kids how to be safe at a young age, but saying it often is good to do.

The suspect is still at large. He's described as having no facial hair and a shaved head. He was last seen driving a small blue pickup truck with dark tinted windows.

If you have any information, call LCSO AT 922-3418.

Deputies commend the girls for getting that description. That is also important.


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