Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies still are investigating the incident and looking for suspects.
Cady Way Trail is a busy, though usually quiet, thoroughfare for bikers and walkers looking for a relaxing time.
But Saturday, April 7, things changed when a women — who was out riding her bicycle — came across a man standing near a curve on the path, according to a statement released by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
“As she passed by the suspect on her bicycle, he grabbed the handlebars of her bicycle, causing her to stop and pointed a large black handgun with a silver tip directly at her face,” the report states. “The suspect demanded the victim’s phone which she complied and gave the suspect her iPhone 10.”
The robbery occurred at 4:55 p.m. at 4863 N. Goldenrod Road. The suspect fled on foot east toward Waterside Villas. The location given is the address for Goldenrod Park, which sits alongside the trail.
The suspect is described as a “light skin black male, about 30 years of age, between 5-foot-7 and 5-foot-9, who was wearing a black shirt with white print and black shorts. The report also notes the suspect had short black hair, no facial hair and green eyes.
Currently, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $1,000 reward offered for any information regarding the situation.
Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jane Watrel said the crime came as a shock, because the trail had generally been incredibly safe.
“To my knowledge, our part, — the county part — there hasn’t been anything,” said Watrel, who frequently uses of the trail herself. “We’re hoping this is an isolated incident, but of course, we want to catch this person.”
The trail had become safer since extra security precautions were added after two bicyclists discovered burned bodies on the path in 2012.
Authorities later discovered that the two bodies were those of Winter Park High School students Nicholas Presha, 16, and Jeremy Stewart, 18 — who had been robbed, shot and burned.
In response to that crime, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs mandated the enforcement of new security measures for the county’s 40-miles of paved trails. The upgrades included Emergency Response markers that were placed along trails, and contained unique GPS identifiers to help police and fire-rescue quickly find people in danger.
All situations are different, Watrel said, and although there are some steps one can take to maximize safety, in the event of a crime such as a robbery, the best option is to avoid escalating the situation.
“In this case, the victim complied with the robber’s demands and gave up her cell phone,” Watrel said. “She was shaken but unharmed — that is the best outcome we could hope for in this very scary situation.”