Marco police indentify 2 men who approached, tried to lure children at intersection

Police have identified the two men on Thursday afternoon who two girls say approached them and tried to lure them into a vehicle on Marco Island Wednesday night.

They say there is no threat to the public and are grateful for the community’s help.

The incident occurred around 8 p.m. on San Marco Road, between Cushing Lane and Templewood Court.

Thursday afternoon, police released photos of a pickup truck and two people they’d like to speak with but have now said how they are connected to this case.

Neighbors say with a school, a YMCA and a park there are always children in this area.

A parent says two young men (in their late teens or early 20s) in a white pickup truck drove up to two girls riding their bikes far ahead of their brother.

WINK News spoke to the mother of these victims, Sharon Lynn and she wants to warn other parents. “It started out with these two young men oh hey, wanna ride we have candy why don’t you get in the car,” Lynn said.

Lynn has four kids and Wednesday her 11 and 13-year-old daughters were riding their bikes with their older brother.

The girls, on their way home from Mackle Park, were asked to get in the truck. After the girls refused and tried to bike away, the men continued to circle back and follow for the next quarter-mile.

“They started to cross this white pickup truck pulled up and stopped blocking them,” said Lynn. “‘Hey, we can drop you off before you get to your house. Your dad won’t know this whole litany of stuff trying to get the girls in.'”

At one point, the men even tried separating the girls from one another.

“My younger daughter called her name, and the driver looked her right in the eyes and said, ‘shut up,'” Lynn said.

Luckily, their older brother wasn’t too far ahead and they were together. “I know my girls got away they did because we insist they travel together,” they said.

Lynn is relieved that her daughters made it home and it didn’t become anything more. “Of course, relief they were both home and safe this didn’t turn into anything,” she said.

Now Marco police want to find these two men and the white pickup truck they were in.

According to the Marco Island Police Department, both men had blond hair, and one wore a blue shirt while the other was shirtless. The pickup is believed to be a newer model, possibly and extended or crew cab variant.

“Folks need to keep an eye out for these guys because if they are that persistent in trying to get these kids in their car, then they may head to those areas to find someone else,” said Lynn.

If you know anything, please contact the MIPD at (239) 389-5050.

Marco Island Police have also released tips to help keep your children stay safe.

Safety in the Neighborhood
• Make a list with your children of their neighborhood boundaries, choosing significant landmarks.
• Interact regularly with your neighbors.
• Tell your children whose homes they can visit.
• Do not drop your children off alone at malls, movie theatres, video arcades, or parks.
• Teach your children that adults should not approach children for help or directions. Tell your children that if they
are approached by an adult, they should stay alert because this may be a “trick.”
• Never leave children unattended in an automobile.
• Children should never hitchhike or accept rides from strangers.
• Children should not approach a car when they do not know and trust the driver.
• Children should never go anywhere with anyone without getting parent’s permission first.
• Reinforce the importance of the “buddy system.”
Safety at Home
• Children should know their full name, home phone number and how to use the telephone.
• Post your contact information where your children will see it: office phone number, cell phone, etc.
• Children should have a trusted adult to call if they are scared or have an emergency.
• Choose babysitters with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors.
• Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing.
• Ask your children how the experience with the caregiver was and listen carefully to their responses.
Teach your children:
• It’s OK to say NO – tell your children to trust their instincts.
• How to use 911.
• Where to go – safe spaces like schools, fire, or police stations.
• To be aware of their surroundings

Reporter:Nicole Gabe
Taylor Smith
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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