JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Jacksonville Beach Police haven’t notified the public more than a week after a woman was reportedly raped in an alley.
It was reported on May 25 in a busy area where both locals and tourists come for nightlife.
Right through the alley next to Surfer the Bar, at 1st Street North and 1st Avenue North, is a public parking lot where people have been walking to and from their cars unaware of the violent crime that was reported there.
"None of them knew, hey, I should be careful walking to my car," said Amy Lowery, who reported a stranger attacked her on the beach a month ago, about a minute's walk away from there.
Lowery said she’s afraid of what might have happened if her friend hadn’t scared off her attacker.
“What have they done to help prevent it? What have they done to notify people? What changes has the city made to make any of this area safer?” said Lowery.
On May 25, a woman told police she had just left Surfer the Bar when three strangers dragged her into the alley around the corner near a trash compacter.
She told police a man raped her while two other men held her down.
Action News Jax asked Jacksonville Beach police Cmdr. Mark Evans why the agency has not alerted the public to the reported attack.
“Before we put the information out, we want to make sure we put the good information out. And at this point, we have a very, very broad description of how many suspects and what the suspect descriptions were,” said Evans.
Evans said police are going through video from both private and public surveillance cameras looking for images of the suspects.
This is the fifth attack Action News Jax has covered in a year’s time within less than half a mile in Jacksonville Beach; all the attacks are within about a four-block stretch.
In January on 1st Street North, a man was reportedly sexually assaulted by two people.
In October 2018 near the Jacksonville Beach Pier, a woman told police a stranger pushed her to the ground and pulled down her underwear.
A witness reportedly heard her screams and scared off her attacker.
In July 2018, a woman reported a couple forced her into a car in the area of Beach Boulevard and 1st Street South and raped her.
Evans said detectives do not believe any of these cases are related.
“They’re very different from this one. And in a lot of those other cases, those arrests were made and those perpetrators were put in jail,” said Evans.
If you have any information about what happened, call Jacksonville Beach police at 904-270-1661.
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