DAVENPORT, Fla. - Polk County deputies are searching for a home invasion suspect who they say entered a vacation rental home in the middle of the night while a family was sleeping.
Sheriff Grady Judd said the incident happened in the early morning hours of April 1, when a vacationing family from Michigan was still sleeping in their Davenport rental home.
A 19-year-old girl who was sleeping in one of the bedrooms upstairs said she felt the bedsheet being thrown off of her, then back over her. She initially thought it was one of her siblings playing an April Fool's Day prank on her and went back to sleep.
"My daughter has told me that a person had come into her room, woke her up, threw a light in her face, threw her blankets off like they were looking to see what she was wearing, what she had on, threw the blanket back on, and ran out of the room," the teen’s dad, who did not want to identified, said.
The teen's dad saw the suspect walking out of one of the upstairs rooms, and asked him what he was doing in the house. The man replied that he had just walked in through an open door.
When the father asked him to show him which door and lead him downstairs, he said the man bolted out of the back sliding glass door.
"Dad said the guy appeared to be stoned or out of it," Sheriff Judd said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference. "Maybe he was just stoned out of his mind or in the wrong home. But he clearly wandered around in that house for a period of time in that house before dad saw him."
The sheriff said that because the house is in an area with other short-term rentals, authorities are concerned that there could be other victims -- and said he "could be someone who's working his nerve up to a more sinister crime."
Deputies searched the area for the suspect, bringing in a K9 and a drone to assist in the search, but were unable to find him.
"This is serious business when people start breaking into your home, especially when you're there, and really especially while you're asleep and relatively defenseless," Judd said. "It would be occupied home invasion burglary - very serious crime to break into someone's home while they're there."
The suspect is described as a clean-cut Black male, approximately 6 feet, 2 inches tall, and weighs about 160 pounds. He's estimated to be 19 to 20 years old.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff's Office.