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Arcadia Police arrest man for trying to lure girls into his car

The 22-year-old man was caught allegedly trying to lure two teenage girls into his car.
Posted at 6:50 PM, Feb 20, 2024

ARCADIA, Fla. — On Feb. 16, the Arcadia Police Department arrested 22-year-old Erdem Guzelgunler, of Tampa, in Arcadia after they say he was trying to lure underage girls into his car.

That night, residents gathered at the Heard Opera House for an event, when a man and two teenage girls were spotted together.

“I was very uncomfortable, I just had a very uneasy feeling about everything,” said Danny Mastrodonato, operator of the opera house. “A lot of the other parents started having an uneasy feeling and we just kept an eye out on what was going on.”

Mastrodonato said eventually Guzelgunler tried to lure the girls into his car, but bystanders stopped the girls and called the police.

“The stance in Arcadia is that no one touches our kids,” said Mastrodonato. “I don't care if you're from town or from out of town, our kids in this town should be safe and our kids come first.”

APD said Guzelgunler tried to run from police before giving them a false identity, calling himself Ethan Potter.

“They realized his car was stolen out of High Point, North Carolina, and after further investigation they determined his true identity, and that he had warrants for himself out of Ohio for similar crimes,” said Lt. Troy Carrillo with the Arcadia Police Department.

APD said Guzelgunler met the two girls on Snapchat and had driven the stolen vehicle from Tampa to Arcadia. APD said he also failed to register as a sex offender in 2022.

Guzelgunler faces multiple charges including:

  • Traveling to meet a minor (x2)
  • Grand Theft - Motor Vehicle
  • Resist Arrest without Violence
  • Give False Name while Lawfully Detained
  • Unlawful Possession and Use of DL or ID Card

APD reiterated the need to be cautious online, especially if you are a minor.
“If you don’t know this person in real life, most likely what they’re telling you through social media is probably not 100 percent the truth,” said Lt. Carrillo. “In this case he is portraying himself to be 19-years-old when he is actually five years older.”