ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Police would like to speak to the driver of a vehicle seen on surveillance video in the area at the same time a man attempted to abduct a woman while she was running in St. Petersburg last week.
— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) February 13, 2018
Police say that the driver of an orange Hyundai Veloster is seen circling the area of 5th Ave. NE and Beach Drive.
Police say that last Wednesday, a man tried to kidnap a woman while she was running along Coffee Pot Blvd. in St. Petersburg. It happened at a popular running, biking and walking spot near downtown.
Allie, whose last name we aren't using to protect her identity, tells ABC Action News she had only one thought when a man pointed a gun at her and demanded she get inside his car: "I’m not getting in," she said.
Moments later, "He pulled out a gun and he says why don't you get in the car?," Allie said, fear still in her voice.
Instead, she ran away as fast as she could, "I was sprinting away thinking this guy is going to shoot me!"
It happened just before 6 a.m. Wednesday, when 23-year-old Allie was jogging south on the sidewalk in the 2100 block of Coffee Pot Blvd. NE.
Allie was able to run away, dashing across the Snell Isle Bridge to a nearby walker, where the two dialed 911. She was not harmed.
Police are searching for a man in a burnt orange crossover vehicle, possibly a Toyota Scion or a Mazda. The man is described as a black man with dreadlocks wearing a black t-shirt. Police say the description of the man is limited.
If you have any information, call police at 727-893-7780 and reference report number 2018-005625.
Allie says she wanted to share her story so other women can be on the lookout.
St. Pete police officers patrolled the area on Wednesday night.
"I am just so thankful she got away and she knew what to do. She took off and didn't get in the car," said Rita Devore who lives in the neighborhood.
We checked out the crime statistics for the neighborhood. Over the past year, St. Pete Police haven’t responded to a single violent crime in the area. The trail is also well lit and popular — even early in the morning when Allie was out running.
St. Pete Police Office spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez says the best way to stay safe while you exercise is to: Vary your route, wear only one earbud (so you can hear what's happening around you) and carry mace or a personal safety alarm.
Otherwise, they are applauding Allie for her brave decision and saying it may have saved her life.