CLERMONT, Fla. - A pair in Lake County is accused of approaching three people, including a 3-year-old, outside their Clermont home and ordering the group to get inside the man’s truck, deputies said.
The incident happened about 4:30 p.m. Friday. The group ran into the house and called authorities while the driver sped off, according to a news release from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
The victims said the man yelled, "Get the f--- in the truck," the report said.
Deputies learned of the situation, which is now considered an attempted abduction case, and went out to the area -- quickly spotting the man in the truck, later identified as Mark Allan Meinhart.
Investigators tried to pull Meinhart over, but he refused to stop right away, deputies said. Meinhart made an obscene gesture at the deputy who was attempting to pull him over, according to the affidavit.
Authorities finally stopped the truck at John’s Lake Road and U.S. Highway 27, which is when Meinhart and his passenger, Kristen Deflorio, were removed from the vehicle, the release said.
Deputies said Meinhart ranted on the way to jail about being followed, people trying to frame him for cocaine possession, his father owning the largest marijuana grow house in California and offering to pay for the deputy's family's college education if he took him to the Leesburg International Airport instead of jail.
Meinhart, 45, and Deflorio, 32, were arrested and taken to the Lake County Detention Center. Both are from Clermont.
Meinhart and Deflorio face a charge of attempted luring or enticing a child. Meinhart is also accused of eluding law enforcement. His bond was set at $32,000 and Deflorio’s is $30,000.
The victim who reported the incident told authorities that a suspicious person had stopped at her home, exited his truck and walked up to her, her daughter and her granddaughter. It’s unknown whether the suspects and the victims knew one another.
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