Masked man spotted snooping, ringing doorbells in Lakeland

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — A Lakeland neighborhood is on edge after a masked man was caught on camera snooping around homes and ringing people’s doorbells.

“You know he wasn’t up to any good because if he has a mask he is trying to hide his face,” said homeowner AJ Garay.

On Sunday night just after 9:30 p.m., a man wearing a bandana over his face is caught on camera lurking outside of a north Lakeland home and ringing the doorbell.

“My wife says don’t answer the door, ask who it is so I yelled who is it,” said Garay.

No one knows who it was but a few hours earlier, at a home in south Lakeland, an intruder kicked in a door and was shot.

“Someone got shot in Polk County on the southside, kicking in someone’s door. That put me even more on edge because that happened around the same time, same day, different time frames,” Garay said.

The cases are unrelated but both – very suspicious.

“He could’ve kicked my door in, it could’ve been my wife home alone, could’ve been my daughter home alone, it could’ve been anything, it is just a scary situation,” said Garay.

The next door neighbor is also uneasy.

“Fear, to be perfectly honest with you. Because we don’t know if she should open the door, if we shouldn’t open the door. I’ve got young people here, other family members, the senior family members, and she almost opened the door to you. It is scary,” said Hope Cristodero.

Detectives are working to identify who the masked man is. In the meantime, homeowners are warning him to stay away.

“Homeowners are protecting themselves. And individuals go to do something like that, homeowners are going to take action to protect their family. It could be a bad situation for either or,” said Garay.

The Polk County Sheriff’s office did send a deputy out to the home. They hope enough people see the man and someone can recognize who he is.

If you have any information you are asked to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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