Deputies increase patrols after Bradenton girl attacked near school bus stop

Investigators say the girl was attacked near the corner of 20th St. E. and 50th Ave. Dr. E. in Bradenton.
Investigators say the girl was attacked near the corner of 20th St. E. and 50th Ave. Dr. E. in Bradenton.

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — Deputies and neighbors are on high alert after a teenage girl was attacked and robbed near a Bradenton bus stop.

Just before dawn on Wednesday, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies were keeping a close watch and patrolling around a neighborhood near the intersection of 20th Street East and 50th Avenue Drive East. They want to prevent an attacker from targeting other children.

On Tuesday, a 16-year-old girl was walking toward the bus stop when a mysterious man pulled her to the ground and tried to assault her. “I was afraid I was going to die,” the girl told News Channel 8.

When a car passed by, the attacker panicked, took her cell phone and ran away. “It’s strange that it happened around here,” said neighbor Bill Tungate.

Tungate knows most of the children that live here. He’s willing to walk with them in the mornings to keep them safe. And he’s unhappy that this neighborhood has no streetlights. He’s worried if that attacks like this could happen again.

“When its dark out there, you don’t have any idea what’s going on. In places like that, they’re just waiting…I’d like to see a light on that corner, for at night,” said Tungate.

Other adults have told News Channel 8 they will walk in the mornings and keep an eye on the children.

Deputies plan to ramp up patrols here during the mornings and the afternoons for the rest of the week.

“He might still be out there, he might still be lurking around and if he is, we’ll get him,” said Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Dave Bristow.

School officials have notified parents. They’ve also dispatched school security officials to look over the lighting near the bus stop and see if improvements need to be made.

Officials recommend that children should never walk to bus stops alone in the dark.

The suspect is described as being 5’ 7” tall and is about 25 years old and skinny. He had blue jeans and a dark shirt. If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers.

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