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A Florida felon who previously served time for manslaughter has been arrested for abusing his maintenance job to sneak onto a property then peep into a teen girl’s bedroom, police said last week.
Santos Pantoja, a 39-year-old with a long rap sheet, was arrested after security footage allegedly captured him creeping on the teen girl.
“He’s a bad man,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a video announcing the arrest on Wednesday. “He’s already been to state prison on two occasions.”
Pantoja had gone to prison for both manslaughter and “a lot of burglaries and a lot of grand thefts,” Judd specified.
The sheriff accused Pantoja of prowling around the victim's home on both May 24 and May 27.
“He was prowling around and trying to peep into the window of a 17-year-old child," he said.
Judd said that Pantoja was employed by a landscaping company at the time and alluded that Pantoja used his job as a cover-up to seem like he legitimately belonged around the alleged victims’ home.
The sheriff’s department noted — in a post in which they used the hashtags #JeepersCreepersThisDudeIsAPeeper and #HeSeesYouWhenYoureSleepingHeKnowsWhenYoureAwake — that the teen’s mom "thought she saw the man surreptitiously looking into her windows" during the first incident.
"When she went outside to confront him, he drove away in his truck," they stated.
Martinez told local station WFLA that her neighbor convinced her to install a security camera following the first incident. After a second incident, Martinez noticed the logo on the maintenance truck and reached out to the company.
“They confirmed with GPS that Santos was in her neighborhood, despite having no jobs to do there,” they wrote.
A neighbor had confronted Santos during an incident; he allegedly told the neighbor that “he was looking for his own daughter who was missing.”
“He’s got a hitch in his giddy-up to be trying to look into a child’s window before 7 o’clock in the morning,” Judd said in his video announcement, visibly angry. “Oh, and he’s carrying a sprinkler. I guess that’s so if anybody sees him, he will tell them he’s working on the sprinklers.”
Pantoja has been charged with burglary of a dwelling, possession of burglary tools, voyeurism, and stalking. He was released from jail after posting bond two days after his arrest. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.
“It frightens me,” Martinez told WFLA. “I don’t know what he was after. I don’t know what his intentions were.”
Martinez called the surveillance footage, which the authorities posted clips of online, “chilling,” and said her daughter is still scared. The clip shows a man peering into windows, crouching, and possibly trying to get inside.
“You can see there’s a point where he reaches up and pushes on my daughter’s window to see if it’s unlocked, I’m presuming,” she said. “That is just something that I can’t stop thinking about.”
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