The man responsible for sexually assaulting an elderly woman last weekend is now behind bars.
Ron Smith, 42, was arrested on December 9, 2021, and is facing multiple charges including sexual battery with a deadly weapon, according to Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
At 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 27, 2021, a suspect approached a woman in her 70s near the intersection of N Central Avenue and Celestial Oaks Drive in the Lake Magdalene area. The victim was out on her morning walk when the suspect asked her for money and cigarettes. She told him she had neither and kept walking.
A short time later, the victim found a purse on the ground that she picked up and was planning to turn in. Before being able to return home, the suspect, who had followed the victim, reappeared and snatched the purse from her hands. He forced her to the ground, covering her nose and mouth, told her he had a knife, and began to sexually assault her on the side of the road, which was not a heavily traveled area. Approximately 15 minutes later, the suspect fled the scene.
The victim reported the sexual assault the same day, and the suspect’s DNA was gathered and submitted to the FDLE. A match was found associated with Ron Smith via a prior arrest for robbery in Pennsylvania.
A search of Ron Smith’s criminal history revealed that he is known to use several aliases, including “Stephen D Smith.” Further investigation revealed that a Stephen D Smith had been arrested n December 2, 2021, by the Tampa Police Department after robbing a woman of her purse and cellphone at Julian B Lane.
Smith was located and arrested the same day on Willow Avenue in Tampa and released from jail on a surety bond on December 5, 2021. A comparison of Ron Smith and Stephen D Smith helped detectives determine that they are the same person.
With the assistance of surveillance video released to the public, Smith was located and arrested by deputies on Thursday afternoon, December 9, while walking on the 4300 block of N Florida Ave. Smith, who is homeless, has an extensive criminal history including multiple charges of assault and robbery in New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania.
Smith is now facing charges of armed false imprisonment, robbery with a deadly weapon, and two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon.
“No one should be afraid to walk their own neighborhood streets, especially in broad daylight,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “Violent acts like this are unacceptable, and I will do everything in my power to make sure this man stays in jail for a very long time. I am proud of our detectives for their tireless work to identify and arrest this suspect, and I commend this sexual assault survivor for the strength it took to report this crime, and ultimately, help us take a dangerous man off of our streets.”
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