FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Ft. Lauderdale police have ramped up their search for a man accused of attacking and sexually battering a woman in front of an apartment complex last week.
Tuesday morning patrol officers, armed with sketches of the assailant, teamed up with detectives to talk with residents in the area of 26th Street and Middle River Drive.
Resident Alan Goostray told police the assailant’s identity is a mystery.
“We do have Federal Highway and you know there’s a lot of riffraff that happens on that block back there. It’s unfortunate that it’s happened in our own backyard here,” said Goostray.
Fort Lauderdale Police Det. Tracy Figone said the attack happened last Thursday, around 1:30 a.m., as the woman was walking southbound on Middle River Drive toward Oakland Park Boulevard.
The woman told police a man tackled her and sexually battered her on the front lawn of an apartment complex next to the road. He then ran off.
“The victim attempted to call for help and she was knocking on doors when police arrived,” Figone said.
Figone said the victim was transported to a sexual assault treatment center.
Syra Seda, who lives nearby, said “I am scared. There are two women in the house, my daughter and I.”
Seda said she heard a woman’s screams at the exact same time the attack happened.
“We heard somebody screaming, a woman screaming,” said Seda. “But we did not look out. It wasn’t a continuous scream. It was one big long scream. If it was something continuous, I would have tried to look out. But it was not.”
“I’m really shaken,” said Maria Patterson, who also lives in the area. “I have a kid who lives here, 11-years-old, you always thinks they can go walk the dog, have a regular life, but now we have to reconsider that.”
Police said the man had a large build and probably weighed between 240 and 260 pounds. He was described as appearing to be 40 to 45 years old and between 5’11” and 6’ in height. He also may have a tattoo on his lower right leg that may have an oriental theme on it.
“We are asking that anyone who may have been passing by the area at the time, even if you think it was something small, to call detectives and Crime Stoppers and give us the information,” said Figone.
Anyone with information can Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS (8477). There is a reward of up to $3,000.