A $25,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to the recovery of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, the young girl whose abduction was caught on a car wash surveillance camera Sunday.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's office announced the reward, which has been provided by a private corporation, at an afternoon press conference today.
Authorities have received in excess of 100 phone calls from individuals with tips since the Amber Alert was announced. The sheriff's office said the tips were general in nature, adding that their best lead is still the security video.
The grainy video shows Brucia being led away by a white male in his late 20s or early 30s at about 6:20 p.m. Sunday, according to police.
An FBI agent and an officer from Florida's State Police Department have joined the Sarasota County Sheriff's office in the investigation. Authorities said they are concentrating on enhancing the surveillence video they received from the car wash, in hopes of getting a better look at the man who led Brucia away.
While the Sarasota sheriff's office says they have no concrete leads in the case other than the video, authorities said they were looking into one call they received from a tipster in Kissimmee, Fla. They said the caller reported a struggle between a man and a young girl in a red shirt and blue jeans, the outfit Brucia was wearing when she was last seen. The Kissimmee caller said the young girl was trying to get away from the man in a store parking lot around 5:50 a.m. this morning, according to authorities.
The missing girl's father, Joseph Brucia, said he believes that someone must have seen something that would help police find his daughter when she was abducted near the car wash Sunday.
The car wash is part of a complex that includes a miniature golf course, a driving range and an ice cream parlor.
"There were people less than 300 feet away from the abduction," Joseph Brucia said. "There were people here. It was in daylight."
Brucia's parents, Susan Schorpen and Joseph Brucia, said they could tell from the look on their daughter's face in the video that she did not know the man who grabbed her hand the night she went missing.
"Take a good look at my daughter. Look at her face," Brucia said as she watched a replay of the tape on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "If she knew him and wanted to be with him, there would be a big smile on that face," she said.
Police said the video reveals the man walking up to Brucia, talking to her for a few seconds, then grabbing her forearm and leading her away. Police don't know what happened once the two walked out of the range of the surveillance camera.
‘You Can End It’
Joseph Brucia, made a public plea to the man on the tape.
"You have the power to change all of this. You can end it. Please, give us our daughter back," he said.
Sgt. Paul Richard of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Department said the car wash was closed when the camera recorded Brucia walking past the business, using it as a shortcut on the way home.
After watching the video, Richard said Brucia didn't seem to know the man, who was wearing what appeared to be a mechanic's shirt with a name patch on one breast. Brucia's mother told police she did not recognize the man on the tape.
Walking Home Alone
Police say Brucia went missing within a short period of time, after the mother of one of Brucia's friends called the girl's stepfather, Steven Kansler. Police said the woman called Kansler at 6 p.m., to tell him that she had spotted the girl walking home alone. Kansler, who says he doesn't want Brucia walking home, said he left to pick her up following the call. Schorpen called the police at 6:30 p.m.when Kansler couldn't locate the girl.
Officers said they had been searching the area around car wash when the owner offered to check the tape from the motion-activated camera behind his business.
Police issued an Amber Alert for Brucia once they viewed the tape Monday.
Police say Brucia is about 5-feet-tall and 120 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes. She was last seen wearing a red top and blue jeans, and carrying a pink backpack. Police say the videotape is the first lead in the girl's disappearance.
Police are asking anyone with information on Brucia to call the national hotline at 888-382-6237, or the Sarasota Police Department at (941) 861-5800. For more information on Brucia, go to CodeAmber.org