Deputies say a man attempted to sexually assault a female realtor as she was showing a home for sale. That woman, who is 69-years-old, made it out okay. But her attacker is still out there.
It happened around 1:30 p.m. Monday in Whitfield Estates in southern Manatee County.
Deputies say the attacker, who went by "Jim" went into the bathroom, flushed the toilet, and said there was a leak.
When he lured the realtor in to check, she said the man, who "reeked of cigarette smoke" tried to force himself on her. The victim said the homeowners were close and would be back soon. So he took off and she called 911.
You'll spot "for sale" signs all over Whitfield Estates. It's a quiet community neighbors say generally doesn’t attract this kind of crime, or any crime for that matter.
"I just can't believe this would happen, something like this in this neighborhood," neighbor Jim Way said. "We don't have any real problems here."
It's a scenario all too real for Tampa Bay realtors. Back in June, St. Pete Police arrested Paul Pinkston after they say he robbed one realtor and held another for ransom. Word on attacks like this get around fast in the tight real estate community.
"It's pretty scary," said a female realtor who asked us not to use her name. "I got this alert at 5:06 p.m. from the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee. This gives us a rundown of exactly what happened and puts a warning out to us agents to be careful."
This agent stressed, they can never become complacent. This case is a big reality check. When in doubt, she advises fellow female agents to follow their instincts. She's just thankful their colleague wasn't hurt.
"We have to be really diligent that we don't put ourselves in situations where we could face something like this," the agent said. "Don't go by yourself to meet someone you don't know. We have a form they can fill out and give us their ID. If they have got nothing to hide, they shouldn't be afraid to do that and it protects us."
The man who attacked her is described as a white male, middle aged and balding, about six feet tall and 250 pounds. He was wearing camo shorts and a grey polo at the time of the attack. He was also driving a black or navy newer model full size extended cab pickup truck.
Detectives Tuesday said they believe he targeted another realtor an hour after the initial attempted attack.
A woman came forward saying she stayed outside of a different home, and let him enter alone. She then had an uncomfortable feeling after she received a phone call alerting her of the nearby incident.
Deputies believe the two incidents are related. They ask anyone with information on this incident to call the Manatee County Sheriff's Office at 941-747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.