CLEARWATER, Fla. - Every year more than 14 million people ride the PTSA busses. Sarah Hamilton is one of them, but her husband is never too far away.
"You don't know what kind of people are on the bus. You don't know if you’re on the bus with an average Joe or someone that just got out of prison,” said Hamilton.
Her fear became a reality after learning why 26-year-old Isaac Fredericks is now behind bars. According to Clearwater Police, on June 11, Fredericks boarded a bus downtown and met a 16-year-old girl. Police say when she got off the bus near Hercules Ave. and Gulf to Bay Blvd., Fredericks followed.
“She's trying to not go in a straight line and every time she turns around he's still there,” described Clearwater police spokesman Rob Shaw.
After about a mile, police said Fredericks kidnapped the teen, took her into the woods, and raped her. Detectives were able to arrest Fredericks on Friday using surveillance video from the bus and a description from the victim.
Jennifer Austin, Fredericks next door neighbor, couldn’t believe it.
"You just totally caught me off guard,” Austin said. “I see them outside and it would never even cross my mind.
In response to the incident, PSTA external affairs officer Bob Lasher released this statement to ABC Action News:
“PSTA carries more than 14 million riders a year and our service is open to the general public. We have one of the best Safety, Security and Training divisions in nation as recognized by the Transportation Security Administration. Safety training for our drivers is ongoing and they are adept at the many different security features on our vehicles. In fact, it was our surveillance that led authorities to identify this subject. As a rider myself, I would have no hesitation letting my 11-year-old daughter ride PSTA without my supervision.”
Fredericks is being held in the Pinellas County Jail on charges of kidnapping and sexually battering a teenager.
He has multiple prior arrests listed on his criminal history including charges of burglary, battery, and child abuse.
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