TAMPA — A 96-year-old woman was attacked by a man who tried to rape her in her home Tuesday morning, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says.
But after ringing the doorbell, forcing his way inside, tearing her clothes off and sexually assaulting the woman, detectives said, Andrew Thomas Whitfield, 19, changed his mind and fled.
The woman was not identified because of the nature of the case, but sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said she and the attacker "knew each other quite well."
The attack took place near the University between N Florida Avenue and Interstate 275, the Sheriff's Office said.
Detectives said Whitfield rang her doorbell at 5:30 a.m.
Authorities said he lied, telling woman that he had her newspaper.
When she opened her front door, detectives said, Whitfield forced his way in, hit the woman and pushed her onto a sofa.
He then took his clothes off, ripped away some of the woman's clothing and assaulted her, detectives said.
But for reasons that the Sheriff's Office did not reveal, Whitfield then ran out the front door.
The woman then reported the attack.
Detectives found Whitfield a few hours later, still in the same area.
"He admitted to detectives that he attempted to rape her," Carter said.
While he was being arrested, detectives said, Whitfield struggled and tried to run.
Whitfield's first arrest was at age 13 on charges of misdemeanor criminal mischief and battery, state records show.
He has also been charged with marijuana possession and in 2010 was convicted of grand theft and battery.
His most recent charges include soliciting a prostitute in 2011 and violation of probation in March and June, records show.
Whitfield was booked into the Hillsborough County jail, where he was being held without bail on a probation violation.
He is charged with sexual battery causing injury, burglary, battery on a person over age 65 years and resisting arrest without violence.
Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3404.