Date: July 27, 2001 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact: Scott Wilder, (863) 534-6299 or (941) 820-1198, pager
Law Enforcement Seeking Man who has Threatened Two Women and a Teenage Girl in Winter Haven Area

A man in Polk County has threatened two women and a teenaged girl today, attempting to abduct them at gun-point.  The suspect fired a shot after the third encounter.  The victim was not injured.

The man has been described as a white male, between 16 and 22 years old with very short dark hair wearing a white tank top and dark colored sweat pants.  The car he has been driving is described as a gold colored, older model sedan-type car, possibly a Toyota.  The car is described as "not boxy looking, more rounded."

At around 7:00 a.m. this morning, the man confronted a woman jogging near Ashford Lane and Spirit Lake Road near Winter Haven.  He struck up a conversation with the woman, then pointed what appeared to be large caliber black semi-automatic handgun at her and told her to get into the car.  She refused and immediately ran away.

At approximately 9:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. this morning, a man fitting the same description stopped a 16-year-old white female outside the Cumberland Farms Convenience Store at Coleman Road and Recker Highway and engaged her in conversation.  He got into her car with her, and displayed the handgun.  The victim managed to convince him to get out of her car; she was able to escape by driving away.

Between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. this morning, a man fitting the same description encountered a white female exiting the Bank of America branch in Auburndale (300 N. Havendale Blvd.), displayed the handgun and tried to get her into his car.  She refused, got into her own car and drove to a nearby Burger King restaurant (on Havendale) where she saw an Auburndale police officer.  She reported the incident to the police officer.  He left to go to the bank location.  The original suspect reappeared and fired a shot at the third victim, missing her.

The above-described suspect is considered armed and extremely dangerous.  Any one seeing a person or vehicle matching the above description should immediately call law enforcement.  Any one with information about these crimes is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 863-533-0344.

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Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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