LEESBURG, Fla. – A man who tried to lure a 10-year-old boy and then asked two teens to sell marijuana was chased down by a group of witnesses, according to the Leesburg Police Department.
Shortly before 9:30 p.m. Thursday, deputies said they noticed a group of young men chasing another man on U.S. Highway 441 and when they broke up the disturbance, the men said the man they were chasing tried to kidnap a 10-year-old boy.
The victim said he was at an arcade at VIA Entertainment and had left his group of friends to go find his sister when a man later identified as Tyler Rathel approached him and said he “looked good” and asked him if he wanted to go to a work out store, according to the affidavit.
Rathel, 27, then grabbed the boy’s arm and started to pull him away before the 10-year-old broke free, records show.
The boy ran back to the arcade and told the person overseeing him at the time what happened and as they were having that conversation, they noticed Rathel was talking to two 14-year-old boys, according to authorities.
Police said Rathel asked those two boys if they wanted to “sell some weed or make some extra cash” but the teens told him “we don’t talk to strangers.”
Rathel initially claimed the men were chasing him for no reason but he changed his story multiple times before he admitted that he asked the two teens to sell marijuana for him, records show. The suspect said Lake County weed is “bad" and Orange County weed is “better,” records show.
Rathel was arrested on charges of luring a child and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He’s being held at the Lake County Jail on $45,000 bond.