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Avalon Park dad gets results for his community by raising funds for whistle bracelets

Father inspired after attempted abduction over weekend

AVALON PARK, Fla. – An Avalon Park dad is getting results after an attempted abduction this past weekend.

The incident happened Saturday when a man attempted to kidnap a girl in Avalon Park.

"I'm glad she and her friend used their heads and were able to get out of the situation that they were in," he told News 6.

Orange County Sheriff's Office released a report that said two girls were riding their bikes after leaving CVS on Avalon Park Boulevard and were close to Publix and the dog park, an unknown man tried to pull his daughter off her bike by grabbing her right shoulder, the victim told police.

The father, whom News 6 has chosen not to identify, said his daughter, 11, and her friend were on their way to CVS to buy candy.

According to the report, the victim told police that the man did not say anything to her after his attempt to pull her from her bicycle, and her friend was able to help her by pulling her other shoulder. The two girls rode away.

Joe Canete, who just moved to Avalon Park two weeks ago, said he wanted to do something after reading about the incident.

His first thought was buying red whistles for his three children to have a safety tool.

He then thought bigger.

"I just had the idea, I know in Great Britain you know, all of the police use whistles and that's because when you blow a whistle people tend to look and pay attention," said Canete.

Canete started a GoFundMe page after he read about the attempted abduction earlier this week.

His goal was to raise $690 to buy 1,000 whistles. In two days, he surpassed that amount and raised more than a $1,000.

"People really love the idea and everyone has been really positive about it because it's an extra line of defense for your kids. Everyone wants their kids to be safe," said Canete.

Canete said people from outside of Avalon Park have heard of his plan and have asked for whistles.

The growing response now has him thinking about starting a 501(c)(3) organization.

Whistles aside, some parents in the area remain concerned.

"I still don't know what the person looks like. I have no idea. It could be anybody and I would like to know so I can prepare myself and protect my family," said Aisha Martin.

The victim's father told News 6 an Orange County deputy was at his home Tuesday to draw up a composite sketch of the suspect.

Orange County Sheriff's Office said the composite is not ready and don't have a time frame as to when it will be available.

"I think that they have had enough time. It's been a few days. It was over the weekend. It's Wednesday now. I'm not really sure why we wouldn't release a composite. It's not accusing anyone. What's the hold-up?" asked Monica Brown, who lives close to the incident area.

Canete is working with Avalon Park's homeowner's association to coordinate an event where he can hand out the whistles.