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Man accused of grabbing, raping woman walking in eastern Hillsborough

TAMPA — Deputies say a 23-year-old Hillsborough County man grabbed a woman walking in the Brandon area Tuesday night, threatened to kill her and raped her three times.

Deputies arrested Devarian Martez Thomas, who faces a kidnapping charge, three counts of sexual battery and three counts of violating probation.

They say that around 8 p.m. Tuesday, a 34-year-old woman was walking on Delaney Creek Drive, just west of Falkenburg Road, when Thomas grabbed her from behind and forced her into the woods.

He threatened to kill her and raped her once in the woods. He then forced her to a nearby apartment complex, the Circle at Crosstown, and raped her twice in a women's restroom near the pool, deputies said.

Thomas said he'd kill her if she told anyone, deputies said.

After he left, the woman waited in the restroom for a bit and then called the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives found physical evidence at the scene that linked Thomas to the crime, the Sheriff's Office reported. They arrested him late Wednesday.

Thomas, who lives in apartment 203 at the Circle at Crosstown complex, was sentenced in 2006 to five years in prison for home invasion robbery, robbery with a deadly weapon and grand theft with a firearm.

He and another teen broke into a Panama City-area apartment while its residents were home. They stole a wallet and weapons from a gun closet, according to the News Herald. Thomas also robbed a Hungry Howie's restaurant.

Thomas pleaded guilty and accepted a five-year sentence, records show. In December, after serving four years and four months, he was released.

He works as a mover with O'Lakers Moving & Storage of Palm River, according to jail records.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@sptimes.com.

Man accused of grabbing, raping woman walking in eastern Hillsborough 10/06/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2011 12:18am]

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