POLK COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – An Auburndale woman says a “peeping Tom” incident has caused her to be fearful every time she tries to relax in her bathroom or when her teenage daughter goes to sleep.
The suspect, Santos Pantoja, previously served prison time for manslaughter.
“It frightens me. I don’t know what he was after. I don’t know what his intentions were,” said Sarah Martinez.
It started Monday May 24th, when she was getting ready for work in her bathroom.
“Through the reflection of my mirror, I saw a man’s face looking into my bathroom window,” she said.
She immediately panicked, ran outside, and saw a work truck leave her yard. She told her neighbors, who bought a security camera.
Then, on Friday, that new camera captured video of a man lurking around her 17-year old daughter’s window.
Martinez says it is the same guy.
“Being able to see those videos is chilling. [Her daughter is] scared. She’s afraid of coming home from school by herself,” she said. “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. That is just something that I can’t stop thinking about.”
Martinez says nobody in her family has ever seen this man or hired the company he works for.
He was in a truck owned by his employer, a landscaping company, and was holding a sprinkler head as he was lurking, according to the sheriff’s office.
The company had no jobs in the neighborhood but GPS on the truck placed Pantoja there, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
“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,” said Sheriff Judd.
With tips from the community and crystal clear security video, deputies were able to arrest 39-year old Santos Pantoja.
“He told a neighbor he was looking for his missing 23 year old daughter. At 7 o’clock in the morning, holding a piece of sprinkler in his hand? I’m suspicious,” said Sheriff Judd.
Pantoja has served two stints in Florida state prison for manslaughter and burglary charges in Orange County.
“Why? Why us? Why us?” Martinez wants to know. “He stole my safety zone. My safe spot. Now every time I’m in the bathtub, I cannot stop looking up at that window to see if there’s somebody there.”
While Martinez remains shaken over the whole thing, she is grateful for the support from her neighborsand the greater community.
“Within about an hour and a half to two hours of posting the picture of the work truck on Facebook, we had his name. We had everything because of one of those crimestopper pages on Facebook,” she said.
“People are very nice around the neighborhood. We try to keep watch for one another here,” said Roberto Rosario, a neighbor.
Rosario remains concerned about this happening to his family.
“I was scared because we’re here also and I work during the day and I have family here and I don’t want anybody peeping in my back window,” he said.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office inmate database, Pantoja has been released on bond.