Wednesday afternoon, University Police (UP) received a call from a female student who reported she was walking to work when a man drove up to her on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Police said the man, naked and masturbating, had motioned for her to enter his vehicle.
According to UP Assistant Chief Chris Daniel, the student said the man made no attempt to kidnap or force her into his car and no weapons were involved. Daniel said the student told UP the man drove away when she pulled her phone from her purse, and she watched him cross the street onto USF Pine Drive, located on the west side of campus near the USF Botanical Gardens.
Daniel said UP officers quickly arrived at the scene and searched the nearby area but could not find the man. They ended the search after an hour, at 1:40 p.m.
“Officers were there within two minutes and checked parking garages, roadways, parking lots — he was not to be found,” he said. “We can only assume he went down Spectrum Drive by Embassy Suites and got back out onto Fowler (Avenue).”
Daniel added this is not an uncommon occurrence within the Tampa community and he has heard of acts like these numerous times in the past.
“It happens all over the city,” he said. “In my 30 years (as an officer), I’ve probably heard of something like this 25 to 30 times.”
Daniel said the only information the student provided about the man was he was driving a gray four-door vehicle. He said the man does not pose a threat to the university at this point given the non-violent nature of the crime. If he were caught, the man could be charged with lewd and lascivious behavior.