Date: August 3, 2001 "For Immediate Release"
To: News Media
From: Sheriff Lawrence W. Crow, Jr.
Media Contact: Michal Shanley, 863 534-6631 or 819-0397 pager
Attempted Abductor Suspect Spotted, Pursued in Winter Haven

A man matching the description of the suspect who has approached and threatened at least three - and maybe up to five - females in the Winter Haven area since last Friday was spotted and pursued yesterday (Thursday, Aug. 2, 1001) by Winter Haven police. 

During the pursuit, the suspect fired an estimated three shots in the direction of a pursuing Winter Haven police officer. Fortunately, no one was injured during the incident. 

The suspect - who was driving a gold Honda Prelude with dark tinted windows - eluded officers in the area of State Road 540. He was spotted by deputies again around 5 p.m. in Bartow, in the area of the intersection of US 98 and Old Bartow/Eagle Lake Road. The suspect ran the stoplight and headed east on Old Bartow/Eagle Lake Road, eluding deputies once again. 

Up to 35 additional Sheriff's Office deputies were called in to patrol and search the area last night. Efforts continue today to locate the suspect. 

The suspect - described as a white male, between 16 and 22 years old with very short dark hair, and armed with a handgun - attempted to abduct three women on Friday, July 27, 2001. During one of those incidents, the suspect shot in the direction of the victim. Fortunately, no one was injured. Two additional women also have since reported being approached by a man in the Winter Haven area, and those incidents could possibly be related to the same suspect, but that has not been completely confirmed. 

The investigation is continuing. Anyone who has information about the suspect is asked to call Polk County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS. 

XXX

Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media

A text only version of this release is also available.

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