Florida Abduction Attempts Spark Warning Amid Search for Masked Man

Indian River County police in central Florida are looking for the assailant behind two attempted abductions in recent days.

According to the county sheriff’s office, both attempts occurred after dark in the Pointe West neighborhood of Vero Beach, Florida. Police seek an unidentified man, who in both attacks wore a mask and hoodie. Victims described him as having a “muscular build,” the sheriff’s office said.

The assailant, according to the sheriff’s office, “attempted to assault” two different women “but ran off when [the victims] yelled for help and physically pushed him away.” The most recent incident occurred around 12:12 a.m. ET Sunday, when the attacker approached a woman from behind and tried to pull her away, according to Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers, who spoke with WPTV.

The first attack occurred around 10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday. Flowers told WPTV that a woman reported being approached with a knife but was able to run away and call 911.

Officials released a home surveillance video that shows a man in the early morning hours Sunday walking down a Pointe West community sidewalk. The man in the video appears to be wearing a light-colored hooded sweatshirt and a mask. The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information related to the incident to call Detective Philip Daugherty at 772-978-6240.

Flowers told WPTV that the sheriff’s office does not have a good description of the assailant but that police are hoping the surveillance video shared with the public will help.

“He is wearing a mask and so it’s not something where you are going to see a face,” Flowers said. “Hopefully somebody will recognize the way the man walks or the way he is dressed.”

Flowers told WPBF that the attempted abductions were “very unusual for beautiful Indian River County.”

“He has so far, not committed to whatever act he wants to do, whether that is grab them, we don’t know what his intentions are,” the sheriff added. “We are happy they were both able to get away.”

Police in Indian River County, Florida, are asking for help in identifying the assailant behind two abduction attempts in recent days.

Gorodenkoff/Getty Images

Flowers added during his interview with WPTV that the sheriff’s office will have an increased presence in Pointe West in the coming days. Residents are encouraged to stay vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

“We will have our team out there in marked and unmarked vehicles,” Flowers told the outlet. “We’ve put the public on notice and so, of course, our bad guy is going to be on notice.”

Newsweek reached out to the sheriff’s office via email for additional information on Monday.