12-year-old girl alerts deputies to man trying to lure girls into his vehicle

Hillsborough County deputies have arrested a man they say tried to lure young girls into his car in the area of

Thanks to an observant 12-year-old, he was caught, but the case isn’t closed. Investigators know there was more than one girl approached in this instance. They suspect this wasn’t his first time and there could be other victims.

Hillsborough County deputies got a call Jan. 15 from a frightened 12-year-old after a man approached her, in the area of Old Hillsborough and Orange avenues, and made inappropriate comments. They ran the license plate and identified the driver as 35-year-old Preston Pamphile.

The next day, deputies came back and watched Pamphile approach three other young girls and an adult.

They pulled him over for reckless driving and jailed him for a violation of his probation. Deputies say he has a violent past, having been convicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and several counts of battery. He was held on no bond.

Meanwhile, the 12-year-old who reported Pamphile is being praised for her actions.

"Not only did she get herself out of that situation, she remembered key pieces of information about the suspect’s vehicle that helped us track him down," said HCSO spokesperson Amanda Granit. "It really is disgusting. He is targeting our most valuable and most vulnerable population."