Most people know shoplifting is illegal and wrong, but dragging a young girl into the situation takes a unique disregard for morality.


“Oh, I think it’s a disgrace,” says Suncoast resident Melissa Gissinger.


Gissinger is repulsed by a man who would use a little girl as what she percieved as “cover” for his criminal activity.


“It’s not missed by her, and it’s a terrible example,” she says.


The Sarasota Police Department released the surveillance footage on Wednesday from inside a LensCrafters, located at the Westfield Mall at Southgate.


This man last seen in a red polo shirt and khaki pants entered the store with a little girl approximately seven years-old wearing a sundress.


He then proceeded to try on several pairs of sunglasses, placing some in his pockets and out of plain view, while the little girl stands only a few feet away.


The footage is unsettling for Christian Ziegler, who has a little girl of his own.


“Shoplifting’s obviously concerning, but it’s also very concerning when you’ve got a child involved, and that’s the example you’re setting,” Ziegler says.


The relationship between the man and girl is still unknown as detectives continue to investigate their identities.


Suncoast resident Elaine Place is not surprised by the crime, but definitely disturbed.


“It’s not unusual, this is what absolutely terrifies me,” says Place. “You see this more and more up north especially… It’s child’s corruption.”


The Sarasota Police Department hopes someone in the Suncoast community can help identify this man who may have used a seven year-old girl to cover for his crimes.


If you have any information regarding this case, contact Detective Kim Laster at 941-364-7327 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477) or online at


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