Caught On Video: Knife-Wielding Sex Offender Tries To Abduct Girl

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The terrifying moment a knife-wielding sex offender tried to abduct a young girl from a bus stop in broad daylight was captured on video. Thankfully, he didn’t get far. The frightening footage provides an important reminder to beware, nonetheless.

An unnamed girl is captured on surveillance camera footage at a bus stop as Jared Paul Stanga pulls up in a white van. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Jared Paul Stanga likely thought he had found an easy target when the 30-year-old convicted sex offender spotted an 11-year-old girl sitting alone at a bus stop around 7 am on a Tuesday morning in Florida. When Stanga lept from his van armed with a knife, grabbed the girl, and attempted to drag her into his white Dodge Journey, he quickly found out just how wrong he was — and it was all caught on video.

In the footage, which was captured by a nearby surveillance camera and later released by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, the unnamed 11-year-old girl is seen kneeling in the grass as she plays with a “blue slime” toy at a bus stop on Old Corry Field Road and Perdido Street in West Pensacola. Everything appears fine until a man, later identified as Jared Paul Stanga, is seen pulling up in a white van.

Jared Paul Stanga
Jared Paul Stanga exits his white van and runs towards the child. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

In a matter of seconds, Jared Paul Stanga bolts from his vehicle with a knife in hand and runs up on the girl, who appears to sense that she is in danger. With Stanga quickly closing the gap between them, the 11-year-old grabs her bookbag and attempts to get up from the ground and take off, but Stanga is too fast. The knife-wielding pedophile grabs the girl, places her in a headlock, and tries to drag her back to his van, which still had its engine running.

Thankfully, the knife-wielding Florida sex offender had unknowingly met his match as the child he was trying to abduct decided to put up a fight, causing Stanga to stumble to the ground. The 11-year-old was able to pry herself free from the pedophile’s clutches. Having successfully fought off her burly would-be abductor, the young girl fled to safety, leaving the suspect running back to his van, the Daily Mail reported. However, he wouldn’t get far.

Although Jared Paul Stanga was able to speed off in his white van, fifty deputies from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office flooded the area within minutes and a hunt for the sex offender ensued. After the local media put out a description of the suspect and his vehicle, Stanga went so far as to paint his van to try to disguise it, according to authorities, but his efforts were all in vain.

Just eight hours after the incident unfolded, sheriffs caught up with Stanga, who still had “blue slime” on his clothes from wrestling with the child. He was arrested and charged with the attempted kidnapping of a child under 13, as well as aggravated assault and battery, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Jared Paul Stanga
Jared Paul Stanga (Photo Credit: Escambia County Jail)

As for his would-be victim, she’s since been hailed a hero with Sheriff Chip Simmons paying tribute to the girl’s bravery at a press conference on the night of the attempted abduction. “She fought and she fought and she fought until finally, she was able to break free from her would-be captor,” Simmons said. “My message to her is that is my hero, she did not give up.”

Although she was only left with some minor scratches, Simmons said the child was traumatized. Stanga has an “extensive” criminal past that includes child sex abuse charges, according to Simmons. “I cannot help to think that this could have ended very differently had this 11-year-old victim not thought to fight, and to fight, and to just never give up,” Simmons said. “This could have ended terribly.”

Sheriff Simmons is right. As he said, “Why else do you think that this man stopped his van and tried to pick her up and take her into that van? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what his intentions were, they were not good.” However, Simmons added, “He will never be free to do this again.” Indeed, a monster is now off of our streets, thanks to the bravery of one little girl, and we hope that her traumatic experience is an eye-opener for others.

Sadly, this is the world we live in. There are monsters among us, who prey on children — even in broad daylight. Are your kids safe at their bus stop? Do they know what to do if someone tries to kidnap them? Are they even able to fight back against a grown man? This girl got lucky, and for that, we are grateful — but we sincerely hope her experience serves a bigger purpose, providing an important lesson for the rest of us. Danger can find us and our children anywhere. Be vigilant, and share this with those you love so they know to be vigilant too.