PEMBROKE PINES (CBSMiami) – A quick-thinking teenager decided she wasn’t going to be another victim and was able to take a picture of a man police think is linked to a string of child predatory cases in Pembroke Pines.
It was around 3 p.m. on Tuesday when the 17-year-old was walking home, near 10900 block of NW 15 Street at 3 p.m., and she noticed she was being followed by a man in his 20’s.
The guy told her he wanted to talk to her and demanded she turn around. When she ignored him, he threatened to pull out a gun.
“He tells her, I have a gun. If you don’t turn around in the next three seconds, I’m going to take my gun out. So she turned around and said ‘what do you want,'” said the girl’s mother.
Police said the girl was next able to call her father, who ran outside, scaring the suspect off.
Cellphone in hand, the teen snapped a photo of the man running away.
The guy was seen driving a grey Toyota Scion SUV.
“It’s something to think about, it’s something to, it was an eye opener for her,” said mom. “I just want other people to see the exact same thing and to just let their kids know it can happen anywhere at any time.”
Pembroke Pines Police believe he’s connected to two previous cases, which have similar vehicle and suspect descriptions.
“We’ve been able to identify an individual that matches the description the young lady provided, and also matches the description of a few other incidents we reported in the past and shared with the community and the media with similar incidents. We’re asking for help from the community to identify this individual,” said Capt. Al Xiques.
The ongoing situation has teens in the area worried.
“I don’t know what I would do if that happened to me,” said 18-year-old Maria Morales. “I really feel like, really anxious.”
Nora Arwood has lived in the neighborhood for years. She, is retired from law enforcement.
“It’s very scary to know that this happened right out in front of my house,” Atwood said.
People in the area are keeping a close eye on what’s going on outside their homes.
Atwood is now offering to help neighbors — offering her place as a safe house.
“I’ve given my phone number, since I’m retired, out to parents who have children so if their children are scared or they’re not available they can come here or call me,” she said.
If you recognize the man in the video or from the sketches, you’re urged to contact police immediately.