Tampa residents concerned after violent, prolonged home invasion

A violent home invasion in a South Tampa neighborhood has put residents on guard.


"I'm very angry with it," said resident Joy Lynch. "I tell my family be very careful. I tell my daughter, the moment you get into the car, you lock it."


Lynch said she's warning her neighbors and is asking you to do the same after a young woman in her 20s 

was ambushed at her doorway Friday morning by a man armed with a gun.


"The suspect violently victimized this young woman for 45 minutes," said Tampa Police Department spokeswoman Janelle McGregor.


Tampa Police are still investigating if a sexual assault was involved.


"During that time frame, she was tied up. Her home was ransacked and her valuables were stolen," said McGregor.


The victim isn't sure if the suspect was already inside or followed her into her home. She managed to free herself after the suspect took off.


A search with police dogs turned up nothing, so investigators are asking neighbors to be more aware of their surroundings.


"I didn't know about it, and I'll probably talk to my girlfriends when I see them running tomorrow morning," said a female runner.


The victim lived south of Gandy Boulevard and MacDill Avenue, a community where Jack Messineo moved his family to get away from crime.


"I'm glad she was able to get away and I hope they catch him sooner than later," said Messineo.


Police said there's a lot of evidence left behind and lots of leads they're working.


"I hope they get him, and I hope they throw the book at him. I hope they make an example that you cannot prey on women," said Lynch.

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