Man who tried to rape woman in her 70s was recently out of prison, Hillsborough sheriff says

Hillsborough County

TAMPA., Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County deputies arrested a man Thursday in an investigation into an attempted rape at Lake Magdalene.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said on Nov. 27, 2021, a woman in her 70s was walking in her neighborhood when she was attacked from behind by 42-year-old Ron Smith, who put his hand over her mouth and forced her to the ground.

“His intentions were to rape this individual,” Chronister said.

The sheriff said Smith was unable to complete the sexual battery. DNA evidence was able to identify Smith as the suspect in the case after getting a match with a sample collected from a prior conviction.

According to Chronister, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was able to get the DNA match within days.

“This was a priority,” he said. “We were worried, extremely worried, that this may be a serial rapist.”

Smith is also a suspect in a purse-snatching at Julian B Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa, having been booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on Dec. 2 before getting bonded out by his sister in Miami.

The sheriff also said Smith had no ties to Florida and was just released from a Pennsylvania state prison on June 25, 2021. He has no permanent address, according to his jail record.

“This bad guy is just where he belongs, in jail,” Chronister said.

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