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Sheriff’s office says it has 100 tips on Naples Park attempted abductions

Something as simple as walking down the street has changed for a community in North Naples. It’s in response to a man investigators are searching for. He reportedly grabbed a woman and tried to engage four others recently.

The man remains unknown after five attempted abductions in Naples Park, but we’ve been sharing a law enforcement sketch based on the man’s description.

Naples Park community members met Thursday to discuss ways to keep their neighbors safe Thursday.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office says 100 tips have come in, and they are looking into every single one. Investigators told homeowners they have few very strong leads they are looking into but would not elaborate.

Posters are still up here in the neighborhood, as walkers and joggers take all safety precautions when they are out.

“That’s why I’m here. I’m her bodyguard,” Steve Bloom said.

“Yes, he is because I usually walk by myself, but it’s kinda scary,” Jodi Martin said.

Martin is taking the advice of the sheriff’s office to stay safe.

“We live on 97th, like 5 doors down,” Martin said. “It’s just like way too close to home. It’s scary.”

Sgt. Darlon Higdon is the lead investigator of the case.

“We understand that this is a significant concern to the community,” Higdon said.

Higdon confirmed there are many leads for investigators to work with now.

“Some of those leads are better than others,” he explained.

While they try to find a man reportedly trying to lure women in Naples Park, CCSO encourages encourage everyone be alert.

“The old phrase the hair on the back stand up, same type of concept,” CCSO Sgt. Brian Sawyer said. “If you see or hear something that is unusual, take note of it.”

Deputies say running and walking with a partner or telling someone you are leaving before you go out is very helpful.

“When it starts to get darker, I go to my house as soon as possible because I feel afraid,” Carmen Sanchez said.

Neighbors are already thinking about a neighborhood watch program.

“I hope they catch the person that’s behind all of this. People shouldn’t have to be afraid here,” Ron Tryon said.

Sketch of the suspect wanted in connection with the attempted kidnapping of a jogger and the luring of four other women all in Naples Park in November 2020. Credit: Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office say the man is in his 30s, stands about 5-feet, 10-inches tall and around 200 pounds.

Everyone in Naples Park is on the lookout for the unknown man and his van.

We received access to a local convenience store’s security footage near one of the entrances to the community. We saw three gray vans driving by during the hours of the reported incidents.

We asked deputies if any of the vans seen on surveillance could belong to the man.

More than a week after five attempted kidnappings, the man remains unidentified.

But his sketch can be found on doorsteps, in shop windows, and deputies are keeping a close eye on the streets of Naples Park.

“I’ve noticed a lot of police officers passing by in the car,” Vanessa Faraj said.

Faraj and her family moved to Naples Park two weeks ago.

“We love it here. I usually have my guard down really low here,” Faraj said.

After finding out that a man reportedly tried five times to lure women into his van, she’s now on guard indefinitely and only walks during daylight hours with her daughter.

“Well, she used to run off in front of me,” Faraj said. “I don’t let her do that anymore. I run with her, or we walk next to each other. She can walk a little bit ahead of me, but that’s it, and I’m always aware of the cars coming by.”

While Faraj and other Naples Park neighbors are less than pleased about this investigation near them, people can still be seen out and about.

“We still enjoy walking around,’ Faraj said “We sometimes walk to the beach, bike we will not stop our life just because of this.”

Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers told us it has received well over a dozen tips. Investigators are pretty sure the man they’re looking for is local and knows the area well. Call 1-800-780-8477 to leave a tip.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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