Parents say a man used a teddy bear to lure their 5-year-old daughter

Eric Vericella says he can't believe what he witnessed outside of his Bradenton home on 23rd Ave West Friday afternoon.

He says he was literally feet away when a man in a car tried to lure his 5-year-old daughter with a teddy bear.

"That was a shocker, because I didn't expect to see anything, just somebody maybe asking for directions," he said.

The man appeared to be 55-65 years old he said, balding and driving a gray or silver Grand Marquis.

The man said a few words to his daughter and held the bear until the girl got close.

Eric then stood up, he says, and when the man noticed Vericella, who had been out of sight until he stood, the man took off around a corner.

A neighbor who was nearby saw the whole thing happen.

"Yeah. We were right there (in) broad daylight.  Right in the middle of the afternoon," said Jessica Randlett.

No matter how hard he tries to teach his daughter how to be careful of strangers, Eric can't believe a man using a teddy bear would try to lure his young daughter.

Bradenton Police say they are investigating the incident, and want anyone with any more information on the incident to call them.

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