A man was arrested in Haines City on Sunday for attempting to lure a 7-year-old girl with a puppy outside of a Publix Supermarket.
Haines City Police responded to a 911 call around 4 p.m. regarding an abduction at the Publix off of US-17. They were told that the suspect had left the area in a motor home. Officers tracked the motor home down on the highway and conducted a traffic stop.
Stacey Bray, the coordinator for the Haines City Rattlers cheer squad was there with other adults and five young girls, raising money for the team. Bray says it happened in a matter of moments, but realized later the man had been in and around the Publix for nearly four hours.
“What I heard was, I want to give you my phone number so you can come over,” Stacey Bray, the victim’s mother said.
Bray said she didn’t know what to do in the exact moment, but started chasing the RV with her flip flops on.
“He wasn’t getting away, he wasn’t getting away,” the mother said.
A Publix manager stepped in to help the mother and called 911.
“I’ve got a gentleman that was propositioning a child. I don’t know if they tried to abduct or not, but he’s trying to leave in a Winnebago,” the manager said to 911 dispatch.
Their investigation revealed that an abduction did not occur, but the driver, Dale Collins, 63, did attempt to lure the girl into his motor home to see a puppy.
The child was approached by Collins in front of Publix while the girl was taking part in a fundraising event. Collins began talking to the child about a puppy, asking her if she would like one. Collins told officers that the girl said yes and then asked her "where is your dad at". Shortly after, Collins told the girl she could see the puppy in his camper.
“He wanted her to come to his RV so she could see a dog that he wanted to give away, that he had for her,” Bray said.
Adults noticed Collins suspicious behavior and began yelling at him. He then went back to his motor home and drove off.
Collins was arrested for attempting to lure/entice a child under the age of 12.
Collins last known address is in New York. His criminal history reveals he has been arrested and charged for Driving under the Influence, according to Haines City Police.
Police ask anyone who may be aware of any other incidents involving Collins to contact the Haines City Police Department at 863-421-3636 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.