Thursday, January 18, 2018
Public safety

Thonotosassa man accused of attempted rape as officials check other cases

VALRICO — Deputies have arrested a man they say threatened to rape a woman in a Valrico parking lot Tuesday — and authorities believe there may be more victims.

About 3 a.m. Tuesday, Thomas E. Foss Jr., 28, approached a woman who was waiting for a tow truck in the Walgreens parking lot at Bloomingdale Avenue and Bell Shoals Road, deputies said.

Foss tried to open her car door and used sexually explicit language while threatening to rape her and exposing himself, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

The woman started screaming, grabbed her phone and told Foss that she was calling her husband and "the cops," deputies said.

Foss of Thonotosassa left in a red 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, deputies said.

Deputies responded and searched the area. They soon spotted Foss' truck parked at a gas pump at a Hess station at Bloomingdale Avenue and Lithia Pinecrest Road. Deputies found the lone female clerk walking with Foss, heading toward the front of the store.

The clerk said Foss had just asked her to show him how to use the water outside and to help him with his truck, which he said was parked behind the store, according to deputies.

Foss faces charges of attempted sexual battery, burglary of an occupied conveyance and exposure of a sexual organ. He was in jail Wednesday on $104,250 bail.

The Sheriff's Office was looking at three other cases from earlier in the week in which women reported a man matching Foss' description — who drove a red pickup — followed them around and, at times, asked if they would engage in sexual acts.

The University of South Florida Police Department is also investigating a similar case.

Foss was previously arrested in 2013 on a charge of exposure of a sexual organ.

Detectives believe there may be other victims, and they are asking that anyone who may be a victim or may have knowledge of Foss' activities to contact the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200.

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