Knife-wielding Florida man who allegedly tried to kidnap girl appears in court
The knife-wielding man who allegedly tried to kidnap an 11-year-old Florida girl — seen on viral video bravely fighting him off – made a virtual court appearance Wednesday on charges of attempted kidnapping, aggravated assault and battery.
Jared Paul Stanga, 30, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after allegedly trying to kidnap Alyssa Bonal while she was waiting at a bus stop alone at about 7 a.m. that day in West Pensacola, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
Prosecutor Erin Ambrose said the suspect is a clear threat to the community.
“Mr. Stanga, in the bright light of day, attacked a child at a bus stop along a busy road with a knife and attempted to pull her into his car. … He’s obviously a threat to this community,” she said in court, according to the news outlet.
Defense attorney Robert Dees cast doubt on whether Stanga is the right suspect, saying the girl was unable to definitively identify him in a photo lineup.
Dees also said Alyssa initially described the suspect as Hispanic and Stanga is Caucasian.
He added that Stanga has lived in the area for 14 years and is employed, so he is not a flight risk.
But Ambrose argued that that the suspect has a 2007 child neglect conviction that she said involved sexual allegations, though she did not cite specifics, and added that he violated probation shortly after that.
Judge Kerra Smith set a $1 million bond for the attempted kidnapping charge, $500,000 on the aggravated assault charge and $5,000 on the battery charge, the News Journal reported.
Authorities identified Stanga with the help of surveillance footage to a gas station where he later bought items using his phone number for a rewards card that investigators used to identify him, according to the report.
Investigators also were able to get a clearer look at his vehicle, which matched the white SUV from the scene.
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