ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – Deputies have identified a man who was suspected of trying to a lure a girl under the age of 12 into his car using a Yorkshire terrier, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
It turns out, deputies said, the man is a longtime resident of the community who often invites people to pet his dog, and he meant no harm.
The parents of the girl told deputies that their child was waiting for the bus outside a residence on Corunna Street, near A1A in St. Augustine Beach, sometime between 2:45 p.m. and 2:55 p.m. Monday when the man drove up in a silver four-door Honda Civic with gray seats.
Deputies said the man then called out to the girl, asking her to walk toward the Civic, get in and pet his Yorkshire terrier, which was inside the car. The brown or blond Yorkie, named Pixie, was reportedly wearing a pink harness with white polka dots on it.
After speaking with the man and other neighbors, investigators said Wednesday that they determined there was no attempt at any criminal behavior and the man was simply talking to the young girl with his dog, which is said to be a beloved pet.
Deputies said the man, along with with his wife and dog, drives the St. Augustine Beach neighborhood each day, talking with neighbors.
A close friend of the girl's family, who did not want to be identified, told News4Jax that the girl is doing OK and her family is grateful for how well deputies responded.