Deputies: Man steals woman's shorts in 'bizarre' Lake Park trail attack

By Cait McVey and Jason Lanning , Team Coverage
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 9:02 AM EST

A bizarre attack on a park trail leaves the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office asking for your help in tracking down the suspect.

  • Suspect reportedly ran off waving victim's shorts over his head
  • Might be connected to previous attack along same section of trail
  • Have information? Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477)

It happened near Lake Park in the Northdale area. Investigators say a woman was finishing up a jog and heading back to her neighborhood when a man attacked her from behind, pushed her to the ground and began taking off her clothes.

"Anyone that knocks you down and pulls your pants off, it doesn't take much to start figuring out what's a potential next step in that particular type of scenario,” said agency spokesperson Cpl. Larry McKinnon.

However, McKinnon said the suspect grabbed the woman’s shorts and took off running, waving the shorts above his head.

"If it's going to be a robbery, they take some type of valuables,” McKinnon said. “In this case, it's a very bizarre set of circumstances. He just knocks her down, takes her shorts and then goes off running into the woods."

Investigators said this might not be the first time this suspect went after a jogger. Last month, they said a woman reported being grabbed by the arm on this very same section of the trail.

If it is the same person, McKinnon said his behavior is escalating, meaning the next victim could face even worse.

The man is described as 25 to 30 years old, about 5’1", with stocky build and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a dark colored short sleeved shirt and khaki pants.

Investigators also believe the man may live in the area. They are asking neighbors to check their home surveillance video and report any suspicious activity.