Would-be thief prompts abduction rumors at popular businesses, deputies say

Surveillance video reviewed in investigation

(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – Deputies issued a statement Tuesday after receiving reports of attempted child abductions in the Bushnell area.

The Sumter County Sheriff's Office received reports that a man tried to abduct someone at the Winn Dixie and at Walmart.

Deputies launched an investigation and tracked down surveillance video from the Walmart, where footage depicted the man acting suspiciously, attempting to steal merchandise, deputies said.

The would-be thief was confronted by management and fled empty-handed, Sheriff's Office officials said. They added that they believe the man went to Winn Dixie after that incident and tried the same thing.

The Sheriff's Office said social media fueled the false abduction rumors, prompting it to issue an official statement to give parents some piece of mind.

In the statement, deputies wrote that they appreciated the public's attention.

"(We) continue to encourage you to abide by, 'If you see something, say something.'"

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