Attempted kidnapping reported west of North Lido Beach Park on Sunday night

Police Department encouraging residents to take extra precautions if they plan to be out alone, especially at night

Sarasota Police officers are investigating an attempted kidnapping that was reported about 9:30 p.m. west of North Lido Beach Park on Sunday, April 2.

The park’s official address is 159 Emerson Drive in Sarasota.

The victim, a 51-year-old woman, told officers that she had parked a rental car in the parking lot of Lido Beach, which stands at 400 Ben Franklin Drive, a news release notes. She then began walking north on the beach while talking with a friend on the phone, the release continues. When she turned around to head south, she saw a man approaching her, the release adds. “She said the man put a towel over her head from behind.

“The victim was able to escape with minor injuries,” the release says.

The man has been described as having dark skin and standing approximately 6 feet tall; he had an athletic build and tight curly hair, the release points out. He appeared to be wearing all-black clothing, and he had an accent, the release says.

The number of patrol officers in the area will be increased, the release adds.

In response to a Sarasota News Leader inquiry about whether the incident report could be released, Genevieve Judge, the public information officer for the department, explained in an April 4 email that because the investigation remains an active one, she could not provide a copy of the report or any further details at the time.

The City of Sarasota website notes that North Lido Beach Park “contains an upland area with 49 acres of Australian pine woods, grassy savannahs and walking trails, plus 22.5 acres of beach and mangroves.” It is a good place from which to fish, the website adds.

For residents who will be in an area where they might be alone, or where it will be dark, the Police Department offers the following advice, the release points out:

  • “Let someone know where you’re traveling or working out.
  • “Take your cell phone.”
  • Avoid using noise-canceling headphones and/or listening to loud music.
  • “Travel with a friend or a dog, if possible.”
  • Change your routes and the times of day you travel to a location.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Detective Steven Fergus at 941-263-6059, leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS, or going online at