Police warn: Serial rapist in the USF area

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is asking African American women between the ages of 24 and 37 to be on high alert for a rapist in the USF area.

Aug. 19 marked the fourth sexual assault by the same man since August 2003. The Sheriff’s Office believes the DNA of a convicted rapist matches for three victims, with a fourth linked through the details of the case.

The suspect is described as a black male between the ages of 20-30, 5 foot 6 inches tall and weighing 150-200 pounds. He is said to have a distinct birthmark or scar on his arm.

The attacks have happened within the borders of Nebraska Avenue to Bruce B. Downs Blvd. and Fowler Avenue to Bearss Avenue. None of the victims are students or staff at USF.

In each attack, the suspect entered the women’s residence through an unlocked window between the hours of 2:30-6 a.m. The victims were attacked in both private homes and apartments. All described the man as emitting a foul odor, sometimes being barefoot and having a distinctive scar on his left wrist.

Debbie Carter, the Public Information Officer, said it isn’t rare for rapists and sexual predators to target demographic groups. “It’s very common – they usually have all of their particular preference, whether it is race or hair color,” said Carter.

“We’re asking people to be very aware. It could be someone

in your neighborhood or someone you’ve seen at the store,” Carter said.

Deputies have asked anyone with information to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477.

Christine Gibson can be reached at (813) 974-6299 or oraclegibson@gmail.com