CLEARWATER — A 23-year-old Clearwater man who picked up a hitchhiker early Sunday was beaten by his passenger and forced to take money out of an ATM, Clearwater police said.
The unidentified victim was driving a green, 1998 Plymouth Voyager van when he picked up the hitchhiker at U.S. 19 and Sunset Point Road, police said. After beating the driver, the hitchhiker forced him to visit an ATM on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and ordered him to withdraw cash, police said.
The suspect then got behind the wheel with his victim still in the car. At Keene and Druid roads, police said, the victim jumped out of the car and ran to a nearby home for help, police said.
He was treated and released from Morton Plant Hospital for unidentified injuries, police said.
Police are searching for a man with a thin build, mustache and earring in his left ear. He is wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Cali Life" and may still be driving the victim's van.
Anyone with information on this case should call Clearwater Police at (727) 562-4242.