Sarasota attack could be linked to other home invasions

nalund@bradenton.comMay 27, 2009 

SARASOTA — A woman was reportedly beaten and raped in her Siesta Key home on Tuesday by a masked man, and the attack bears some resemblance to a series of similar unsolved home invasions in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

At 12:56 a.m. Tuesday, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report of a home invasion and sexual battery, according to a press release.

The victim told deputies that she was attacked by an unknown masked intruder while she was alone in her home.

She was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for treatment, according to the press release. The extent of her injuries were not immediately known today.

The victim described her assailant as being about 6 feet tall with a muscular build.

A man clad in dark clothes with a ski mask has broken into homes and beaten mostly women in upper-middle-class neighborhoods in Sarasota and Manatee counties. In one attack in Sarasota, a woman was found killed in her home.

In most cases the victims are older than 50.

It’s unclear what his race is but many of the victims say he is about 6 feet tall and about 180 pounds.

Local law enforcement agencies have linked 10 attacks with some similarities. For example, during some of the attacks, the assailant reportedly speaks of needing drugs, authorities have said.

“We’re still working with Sarasota, investigating,” Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow said this morning. “But we’ve said all along there’s no way we can definitely say it’s the same person. There are similarities, there are differences.”

One difference is that that there have been no sexual attacks on the Manatee County victims, Bristow said.

As of this morning, the attacker remained on the loose.

If authorities do link the latest attack to the others, it would be the first attack since the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office released a composite sketch of a suspect on April 22, Bristow said.

Anyone with information on any of the attacks can call the Sarasota sheriff’s office at (941) 861-1719, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office at (941) 747-3011. They can also leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling (941) 366-TIPS or via www.manateecrimestoppers.com or www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com

People can also send information via cell phone by texting TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES.

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