JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Families at the Terraces at Town Center apartment complex are on high alert after a suspect broke into a home and sexually battered a woman over the weekend.
The suspect is accused of tailing another vehicle to get into the gated community.
JSO released a sketch of the suspect along with details of the home invasion. They have not released a police report to media, but they say the suspect broke into an apartment with a gun and forced a young woman and her dad into their bedroom where he sexually battered the woman. It happened around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 13.
The suspect reportedly stole their cell phone and money before taking off.
Residents tell First Coast News the complex didn't notify them of an incident until two days later when they received an email late Tuesday afternoon with limited information. JSO released their information late Tuesday night.
As to why they released it days later, JSO sent First Coast News this statement:
The information was disseminated by the PIO Unit as soon as we received it from the investigative unit. There are many moving parts with these types of investigations and are obviously traumatic for the victim. The sketch provided was completed with the assistance of the victim – and these sometimes cannot be completed right away for obvious reasons. We must take into account the victim’s state following the crime and their ability to recount all of the details for dissemination. When we release information, we must ensure the information is factual and as accurate as possible. As with any information dissemination – this was delivered to the public as quickly as possible given the situation.
Makenzie Belton lives at the Terraces with her fiance. She says the gate doesn't really keep outsiders out; usually, cars will follow each other through the open gate without entering a code.
"I see people do it all the time, I even do it when I don’t want to wait," said Belton. "What’s the point if people can get in anyway?"
Alex Malekzadeh lives in the same complex. He is adamant that he has seen this suspect before.
"I saw a black truck with a heavy set man, African-American, he went around this building and kept going around and around. This unit. He was going 5 miles per hour."
He says the man was watching the building as he circled around slowly. It happened one month ago around 9 p.m. Eventually, he says he watched the man try to go back out of the gate.
"He didn't know how the gate worked," he said. "He waited for someone then he followed them out."
After hearing his account, FIrst Coast News showed him the sketch of the home invasion suspect and he immediately said it looked like the suspicious man from one month ago. First Coast News alerted JSO to make contact with the resident to get more information.
Other residents are still upset that the apartment complex didn't do more to inform them sooner.
First Coast News reached out to the complex with questions but hasn't received responses yet.
On Wednesday afternoon, First Coast News spoke briefly with the victim. She was with family members. She said she was going to meet with investigators.
JSO says it's an ongoing investigation. The suspect is still at large. If you have any information you're asked to call police at 904-630-0500.