MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Miami Beach police have released surveillance pictures of a man they say sexually assaulted a woman at a South Beach hotel.

It happened last Friday, Sept. 6th, at the Hotel Breakwater South Beach at 940 Ocean Drive. A woman in her 20s who was visiting from Switzerland was returning to the hotel room around 4:30 a.m. when a man she’d never met got on the elevator with her.

The man reportedly told the woman he was staying on the same floor as she was. When the elevator arrived at the floor, as soon as the doors opened the man grabbed her from behind, put her in a choke hold and dragged her into her room where he sexually battered and robbed her, according to police.

“He overpowered her, took her to her room her sexually assaulted her then he robbed her of all her money and fled the scene,” said police spokesman Bobby Hernandez.

“That’s pretty scary,” said Sheena Johnson, who was visiting from Washington D.C.

Based on surveillance video, detectives believe the man knew his way around since he was able to get in and out of the hotel quickly and quietly.

“He was very comfortable with his surroundings, he knew the hotels in and outs, so we’re pretty sure he’s familiar with the hotel, he might have worked there before,” said Hernandez.

Pettina Schulz is staying at the Breakwater Hotel. She said she saw the police investigation but didn’t know until Tuesday what had happened. She and other guests said they were shocked.

“Normally you think you are safe here in the hotel, but it can happen,” said Schulz. “Outside you are careful but inside you don’t really think, you should be safe.”

“I have been walking around here late at night without being scared at all,” said “Paz” who was visiting from Argentina. “Now you said that, so I’m surprised, I never thought that would happen here.”

The man was described as being in his twenties, approximately 5’10”, weighed about 230lbs and had a possible cursive letter tattoo on his upper left chest.

Authorities advise that women in the area do not walk alone and to be on the lookout. Anyone with information about him is urged to call the Miami Beach Police Department at (305) 673-7901 or Miami Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS(8477).

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