Man arrested for tracking teen and traveling to meet her in Sarasota

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A South Florida man is facing charges after deputies say he traveled to Sarasota County to meet a 16-year-old he had been chatting with online.

The teenager, who was on vacation with family friends from North Carolina, says she met John Mattaliano in an online teen dating chatroom.

Mattaliano originally told the girl he was 17, but later admitted he was 37.

Deputies say Mattaliano bought and mailed the 16 year-old a cell phone, which he used to send her photos of his genitals over the course of three months. The victim says the phone had a location device on it that let him track her while she was on vacation.

Mattaliano rented a U-Haul and traveled from West Palm Beach to Sarasota, then showed up to where the girl was staying on Thursday. The teenager immediately told the adults who she was with. Adults then called the sheriff’s office.

Deputies found Mattaliano hiding in a wooded area near East Venice Avenue.

He is now facing several charges, including traveling to meet a minor after use of a computer to lure a child.

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