Woman calls 911 after man jumps out of bushes, grabs her backside

Polk County

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Residents in the Lake Morton Historic District are on high alert after a woman says she was groped while standing on the sidewalk Friday morning.

Police say the woman called 911 and reported a man grabbed her behind after jumping out of the bushes on Orange Park Avenue in Lakeland.

The lush landscaping, including bushes and trees, makes the perfect hiding spot for a bad guy ready to pounce.

“It shouldn’t happen. It’s sad. Disrespectful,” said Tessy, who was walking through the neighborhood Friday.

“My daughter has a new bedroom so it’s right in the back of the house, so that makes me very nervous that somebody could be lingering around our home,” said Lisa Sargeant, who lives in the neighborhood.

Sargeant had a window peeper problem two years ago and this incident is bringing up bad memories.

“It absolutely brought those feelings back up. They resurfaced. I pulled every shade in our home. All the windows are locked, solid opaque shades down in all the rooms, and I love natural light,” she said.

Lakeland police canvassed the area for over an hour after the call came in.

The suspect is described as a black male, 6 feet tall, in his 30s or 40s wearing bike shorts and a white shirt.

“Be aware of your surroundings. Try to put down the distractions if possible. Always report something suspicious or something that happens. Don’t brush it off and say ‘it wasn’t a big deal.’ Always report it that way we can track activity in the area,” said Robin Tillett, Lakeland Police spokesperson.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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