TAMPA - A 47-year-old man was arrested after forcing a teen boy into a shed and sexually battering the victim last night, according to Tampa Police.
The 14-year-old boy was walking home when the suspect lured him over to a shed, located at 911 E 28th Avenue, near an alleyway at 8:15 p.m Tuesday.
Officials say that when Steven James Taylor forced the victim into the shed, pinned him down and sexually battered him. The teen was able to escape from the shed after he got into a struggle with him. He ran south on Nebraska Avenue and flagged down a patrol officer and reported the attack.
Officers went to the location where the attack occurred and found Taylor. He was taken into custody and charged with Sexual Battery and Kidnapping. Taylor was recently released from a two and a half year prison sentence for burglary in June.
Indeed, looking around inside the shed where police say the recently released ex-con Taylor lured -- then sexually battered -- the 14 year-old boy last night, you can't help but feel something here's just not right.
"Sexual activity I mean probably rape, probably prostitution," said neighbor Angie Blanco -- describing what she's afraid is going on just a stone's throw from her front door. "It's what this area's known for."
And that's a problem that Tampa Police Say they've been working on
"And last year, we created the Prostitution elimination zone," said Capt. Mary O'Connor, with the Tampa Police.
"It basically prohibits people who have been convicted of sex offenses to go into this geographical area."
"Would you feel safer with more Police presence out here?" ABC Action News' Bill Logan asked Ysmara Escoto, who lives right next door to the scene of the alleged attack.
She shrugged her shoulders and said, "I mean, whenever they (the police) leave, they do it."Ysmara says she copes by not going outside.
So while the folks who staff the nearby Head-Start Center send home notes for parents and re-double their oversight of the kids who come here, the cops who patrol the neighborhood say they're re-doubling their listening and watching, hoping the neighbors don't give up hope.
"I would certainly hope that's not the case," said Capt. O'Connor.
"That they're accustomed to this type of activity going on in their area because it's our job to protect them from that and to keep these problem people out of their neighborhoods."
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After another round of rough weather, things will be much quieter through the holiday weekend.