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Intruders rape, rob woman, 68

Men break into her home, assault her and steal some of her things, deputies say.

By GINA PACE AND MOLLY MOORHEAD
Published March 2, 2007


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ZEPHYRHILLS - The 68-year-old woman was alone in her home in Winters Mobile Home Park about 2 a.m. Thursday.

Two men, their faces covered, slipped in through a window. They spent the next half hour raping her. When she tried to get up, they kicked her in the face.

Before leaving, they took some of her things.

Pasco County Sheriff's Office spokesman Doug Tobin said the woman, whose name was not disclosed because of the crime's sexual nature, was well enough to be released after getting treated at a Zephyrhills hospital Thursday morning. But she was roughed up and bruised.

Tobin described one of the attackers as 5-foot-11 and stocky, the other as 5-foot-9 and thin.

A neighbor saw a small red car leaving the area about the time of the attack, according to reports.

The apparent randomness of the attack surprised authorities and frightened residents.

"In home invasions, what we see typically is the individual knows about money or drugs at the place," Tobin said. "At this point, it appears to be a random act of violence."

Park resident Donald Oaks, 69, said he had heard of recent burglaries in the area, but nothing else of this magnitude. It reminded him of worries he had before he retired, when he worked in Alaska but his wife lived in Florida.

"When I wasn't around, I couldn't protect her," Oaks said. "This woman was by herself and had no protection whatsoever."

Many residents in the neighborhood are elderly and widowed. Women there say they're scared, refusing to give their names to reporters. Family remembers of the victim also declined to comment.

Clifford Swanson lives with his wife in Winters Mobile Home Park.

He said he's never heard of anything like this happening before.

"Everybody is going to be on their toes from now on," said Swanson, 83. "It makes you think about locked doors, who you talk to, who you don't."

He looked around the neighborhood.

"It could have been anyone, you know?"

How to Help

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact Det. Sharon Foshey with the Pasco Sheriff's Office at toll free 1-800-854-2862, ext. 7328.

[Last modified March 1, 2007, 23:57:33]


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