Police say the man wanted for sexually assaulting a woman inside a Coral Springs medical office minutes before it went up in flames is extremely dangerous and likely used the fire to try to cover up his brutal crime.
"Anybody that walks in there at 5:20 in the evening while there's still business going on, he's somebody that's got guts, somebody that's not afraid to try that," Coral Springs Police spokesman Lt. Joe McHugh said Wednesday. "So we're extremely concerned, we wanna get him identified and get him off the street."
The incident happened Monday evening at the Central Medical Plaza at 9750 Northwest 33rd Street when the suspect walked into one of the doctor's offices and demanded a clerk give him prescription drugs, police said.
When the clerk told the man they had none, he beat her, raped her and choked her so hard she passed out, McHugh said.
"This person is a very dangerous individual," he said.
Moments after the attack, a delivery man called 911 to report a fire. Firefighters spotted the unconscious woman's feet behind the counter while evacuating the building and pulled her to safety.
Police are investigating the attack and fire and believe they're linked and that the fire was a cover-up.
"It was very coincidental that as soon as the sexual assault occurred, it was within minutes after that the fire broke out in the exact location where the assault occurred," McHugh said.
On Tuesday, police released a sketch of the suspect, described as about 5 feet 11 inches tall with a thin build, dark hair and eyes, and groomed eyebrows. He was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and jeans.
Police said the victim remains hospitalized but is making progress and doing better, and was able to provide a description of her attacker.
Anyone with information is asked to call Broward CrimeStoppers at 954-493-TIPS.