Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Would-be abductor picks wrong woman — the wife of a Tampa police major

“There’s evil in the world, and he is part of that,” said Tampa police Maj. John Newman, after watching a surveillance video of a man who tried to grab his wife in a parking lot.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

“There’s evil in the world, and he is part of that,” said Tampa police Maj. John Newman, after watching a surveillance video of a man who tried to grab his wife in a parking lot.

TAMPA — Note to would-be criminals: The person you attack in a store parking lot could be anybody. Including the wife of a Tampa police major who oversees nearly 300 cops.

That's what happened outside a Carrollwood department store Wednesday night when someone approached Dawn Newman from behind.

Newman, 49, told sheriff's deputies she had just finished Christmas shopping at Bealls when she felt something push into her back.

"Don't scream and you won't get hurt,'' she said the man told her.

Newman thought it might be someone she knew playing a prank. When she turned and didn't recognize the man, she screamed. The man initially tried to grab her but later ran away, Newman told deputies.

Her husband, Tampa police Maj. John Newman, told reporters Thursday that the episode taught him that anyone could be a crime victim.

"I always tell (officers), 'Treat the victim like they're your family. Like it's your mom or your dad or your wife,' " he said. "And yesterday, it was. And that's a lousy, lousy feeling."

Surveillance video shows a man lingering outside the store for nearly 20 minutes before following Newman into the parking lot. The suspect had not been caught as of late Thursday .

He is described as a white man in his 50s, 5 feet 9, 160 to 180 pounds, with sandy blond hair and a scruffy beard. He was last seen Wednesday night near a Walgreens at Dale Mabry Highway and Northdale Boulevard.

Hillsborough sheriff Sgt. Trey Hassell said deputies see a spike in such crimes during the Christmas shopping season. He said Newman did exactly the right things — drew attention to herself and got a detailed description of the attacker. After initially chasing the man, she allowed him to run off.

Hassell said shoppers should be extra watchful for suspicious people when walking to and from their car. He also suggested women keep money and other valuables in their pockets instead of their purses.

John Newman, the police major, said his wife was shaken up by the attack but was not physically hurt. He's thankful she wasn't a victim of a more serious crime.

"We're going to put it out of our mind," he said. "But it'll definitely be something we'll talk about during Christmas dinner, I assure you."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 873-8477.

Lee Logan can be reached at (813) 226-3383 or llogan@sptimes.com.

Would-be abductor picks wrong woman — the wife of a Tampa police major 12/23/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 23, 2010 10:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.

  2. Police: Man tries to lure child with puppy in Polk County

    Crime

    Times staff

    HAINES CITY — A man was arrested Sunday after he tried to entice a young girl into his camper to view a puppy, according to police.

    Dale Collins, 63, faces a charge of luring or enticing a child under the age of 12. [Photo courtesy of the Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Editorial: Coming together to reduce car thefts

    Editorials

    The simple, knee-jerk response to the juvenile car theft epidemic in Pinellas County would be to crack down on offenders with an increased police presence and stiffer sentences. Thankfully, local community leaders did not stop there. As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its 
As detailed in a recent Tampa Bay Times follow-up to its "Hot Wheels" investigation into youth car thefts, a variety of ideas from multiple directions increases the odds of actually solving the cause and not just treating the symptoms.

  4. Editorial: Floridians' health care now at risk in Washington

    Editorials

    The health care for millions of Floridians is now at risk. The U.S. Senate's dramatic vote Tuesday to begin debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act with no idea what will happen is a dangerous gamble with American lives and the national economy. Barring an unexpected bipartisan compromise, a handful of …

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., dramatically returned to the Senate for the first time since his brain cancer was diagnosed and cast the key vote that enabled Vice President Mike Pence to break the 50-50 tie and allow the health care debate to proceed.
  5. Former Marine from Florida dies fighting for Kurdish militia

    ORLANDO — A former Marine who secretly traveled to Syria earlier this year to battle the Islamic State was killed while fighting for a Kurdish militia, his father said Tuesday.

    David Taylor, with his father David Taylor Sr., was killed earlier this month in Syria while fighting for a Kurdish militia.