Man removed license plate before lewd act in east Orange County, deputies say

Incident reported Feb. 12 near Colonial Drive, North Econlockhatchee Trail

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Sheriff's Office sex crimes detectives are attempting to identify a man who they said committed a lewd act Tuesday in front of a 13-year-old girl in east Orange County.

Deputies said the unknown man was seen on video taking the license plate off his car before approaching the victim.

Mitzie Roman, who lives near the area where the incident happened, said she recognized the vehicle shown in the surveillance video deputies released.

"I was turning left and then I was making a right, and there was three cars in front of me, and the first one looked exactly like that one, and it turned right and kept going," Roman said.

Officials with the Sheriff's Office shared video of the man taken near East Colonial Drive and North Econlockhatchee Trail around 8:30 a.m. that shows the man removing the license plate.

Roman said the thought of the vehicle returning to the neighborhood Friday hits her sense of security.

"So that means that whoever it is was here again today and they didn't get caught," Roman said.

The incident happened a few blocks from Union Park Middle School as a student was walking to school, according to a message from Principal Tony Serianni.

"Today, the Orange County Sheriff's Office released information regarding the search for an unknown male who approached a female student on the way to school this week. The student reported the incident to the school resource officer," Serianni said in the voice message sent to parents.

Serianni said deputies believe the man is in a red sedan with very dark tinted windows, and that the vehicle may still be without a license plate.

The principal also asked parents to talk to their students about safety ahead of the holiday weekend.

"Parents, please take this time to talk to your student about stranger danger. This is a long weekend, as students are off on Monday, but remind them to always be aware of their surroundings, and encourage your student to walk in pairs or in a group," Serianni said. "The safety of our students is always the top priority. Remember if you see or hear something, say something."

Orange County Sheriff's deputies have not confirmed whether anyone has seen the vehicle but anyone who recognizes the man or his car is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).

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