Franco

Wilmer Alberto Franco

NORTH PORT— A North Port man is facing charges of stalking, after he allegedly placed cell phones under a woman’s vehicle to track her.

Three different times.

A woman contacted the North Port Police Department in November 2019, after she found a cellphone in a waterproof pouch stuck under her car.

She told officers she suspected Wilmer Alberto Franco, 53, of 1500 block of N. Salford Blvd., according to the affidavit released Thursday. Franco had been showing up uninvited to places where she was present, though she never told him when and were she was going.

Police removed the cellphone and submitted it into evidence. The woman was unsure if she wanted to press charges.

In January, she removed her complaint with the police department, the affidavit states.

The following month, an officer responded to the woman’s workplace, where she reported she found a second cellphone under her vehicle, again in a waterproof pouch. The woman told officers she witnessed Franco around her house late at night, and requested he be issued a trespass warning. The deputies placed the phone in evidence. The woman told police she wished to pursue charges if Franco was found to be the offender. Officers went to Franco’s employer, a North Port dental office, and issued him a trespass warning.

In March, an officer responded to the woman’s new address, where video shows Franco arrived twice on the same date. According to the affidavit, police issued an arrest warrant for the trespass violation.

Earlier that day, Franco texted another woman who was out shopping with the alleged victim, saying he knew where they were.

The woman told officers she was afraid, and believed Franco may hurt her at some point, the affidavit states.

Officers checked her car and found a third cell phone attached underneath it. They took the third phone into evidence.

Police arrested and booked Franco into the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday. He was released on $1,000 bond.

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