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Siesta Key Friday, Mar. 2, 2018 6 months ago

'Prowler' arrested on Siesta Key, deputies say

The suspect may be responsible for half a dozen different incidents on Siesta Key since July where a man exposed himself to people.
by: Cassidy Alexander Staff Writer

A man was found with his pants halfway down around his legs in a Siesta Key carport and arrested after he fled from deputies Wednesday, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said in a release. 

Major Paul Richard, a law enforcement division commander, said a prowler had been reported in different condominiums as far back as July 2017 in at least half a dozen different incidents.

People would report to the Sheriff’s Office the suspect wasn't wearing pants, and would shine a flashlight that he was carrying on himself. Richard called it “very disturbing behavior."

James Runge

While an investigation is ongoing, deputies have reason to believe the man arrested Wednesday, identified as 52-year-old Port Charlotte resident James Runge, was responsible for those incidents as well. 

Deputies responded to the 5800 block of Midnight Pass Road just before 10:30 p.m., according to a report from the Sheriff’s Office. Two witnesses told deputies they saw a man with his pants down standing in a carport on the Beachaven Villas property.

When deputies and the Sheriff’s Office helicopter responded, he fled on foot across neighboring properties, which was caught on video

Runge fled for about half a mile through parking lots and over a fence before he was detained, as the helicopter tracked his movement. 

A release from the Sheriff’s Office states Runge has prior arrests in Sarasota County for indecent exposure and prowling.

“Siesta Key is as safe a community as we’ve got in Sarasota County,” Richard said, adding that people who commit this type of crime usually target apartments and condominiums but it’s not a problem specific to the Key. 

“At this time we have no idea why he returned to that particular area, but something about it attracted his attention," Richard said.

Deputies arrested Runge and charged him with loitering and prowling, trespassing and resisting an officer without violence. He was released Thursday on $2,120 bond.

Richard encouraged people to continue to alert law enforcement officers to anything unusual in their communities.

I’m Cassidy. I cover news in Sarasota County, Siesta Key and the schools, plus community events if they involve dogs. I’m a Florida native, and University of North Florida graduate with degrees in journalism and graphic design. Reach me at 941-366-3468 ext. 304.

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