Man who tried to kidnap teen in Fort Lauderdale arrested

Carl Watts turns himself in, charged with 1 count of false imprisonment, battery

Carl Watts.
Carl Watts.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A 37-year-old man who attempted to kidnap an 18-year-old woman in Fort Lauderdale has been arrested, deputies said.

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, when detectives released surveillance images Thursday showing a man who tried to kidnap Candace Williams on May 1 they received almost a dozen Crime Stoppers tips identifying Carl Watts.

Deputies said after seeing himself on television news, Watts called detectives, too.


As Williams waited for the bus May 1 on Sunrise Boulevard, Watts approached her and tried to strike up a conversation. Detectives said she ignored him, but he persisted, trying to coax her into his van and tried to shove cash down the front of her shirt.

Williams pushed his hand away, but he grabbed her wrist, trying to pull her into his van. Deputies said she was able to get free just as the county bus approached.

A video camera mounted on the bus caught images of Watts just as Williams walked toward the bus; a nearby gas station got a shot of his van.

Deputies said Williams didn't immediately notify authorities of the incident but told a teacher at her high school, who convinced her to report the attempted kidnapping.

Those who recognized Watts and his van anonymously called Crime Stoppers. On Friday, Watts called detectives and eventually turned himself in. Deputies said he explained he was driving by the bus stop that morning and noticed Williams, who he said looked "young and sexy."

Watts told deputies he tried to talk to her and offered to buy her breakfast. He denied shoving the money down her shirt and denied grabbing her wrists. He told detectives he is lonely and can be persistent when trying to pick up girls.

Watts, who has a substantial criminal history that includes three previous kidnapping charges, was arrested Friday afternoon. Deputies said he was charged with one count each of false imprisonment and battery. He is also on federal probation on a weapons charge.