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Guardian Angels starting patrols in west Pasco County

Posted at 10:34 PM, Jul 12, 2018

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Tampa Bay's Guardian Angels are recruiting new members to patrol west Pasco County. 

The unarmed, community crime-prevention group is expanding after receiving several requests and complaints about crime along U.S. 19 and State Road 52. 

"Wherever there's a need that we feel, then that's where we're going to head," said member Roxanne Benavidez. 

Guardian Angels patrol where police can't always be, aiming to be law enforcement's "eyes and ears."

Raymond Fagnon, who goes by the name "Ikon", says these patrols are the closest he's come to living out a lifelong dream.


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"I read comic books as a kid, I wanted to be a superhero," said Fagnon. "I always felt like there was something I wanted to do but I just didn't know how to do it."

Tampa Bay's Guardian Angels maintained a strong presence in Seminole Heights last fall, during the manhunt for a serial killer. 

They're now expanding into Pasco County, focusing on areas along U.S. 19. 

For Roxanne Benavidez, this location is personal. 

"It's a hard life out here," said Benavidez. "I drive U.S. 19 on a daily basis and I see a lot of different things between homelessness, auto-theft, there are people breaking into cars, breaking into homes, you also have a lot of drug issues." 

Jane Zielinski says the men and women wearing red berets are always welcome in her neighborhood. 

"It makes me feel like help is coming."

"We just want to make sure the businesses are safe," said Benavidez. "Just as equally as important are the residents of the communities."

The Pasco Sheriff's Office tells ABC Action News that most crimes stats are down this year. 

"We welcome citizen involvement in our crime prevention efforts, like our neighborhood crime watch, as they can be our eyes and ears to let us know if crime or suspicious activity is occurring. We will have to wait and see what develops from the Guardians and their efforts," said Kevin Doll, Community Relations Director for the Pasco Sheriff's Office. 

The Guardian Angels plan to officially start patrols in Pasco County in the next two weeks.