Leesburg police nab fugitive wanted for sexually battering 15-year-old girl

Brian Winthrop

Leesburg Police officers nabbed a Pinellas County fugitive recently who was wanted for sexual battery on a 15-year-old girl.

The police department’s Crime Suppression Unit and a K-9 officer were watching a house on April 9 where 40-year-old Brian Nicholas Winthrop, of Oldsmar, was believed to be hiding. The officers quickly closed in on him when his car pulled into the driveway at 114 N Lake Avenue and he immediately fled on foot, a police report states.

Winthrop was told to stop or the K-9 dog would be deployed. When he didn’t heed the warning, K-9 Officer Gary Herrero’s dog, Banner, apprehended Winthrop and held him on the ground until the Crime Suppression Unit’s officers arrived and took him into custody.

Winthrop, who lives at 11911 Sheffield Court in Oldsmar, was transported to UF Health Leesburg Hospital for treatment. After being medically cleared, he was taken to the Lake County Jail and charged with sexual battery and violating his probation on a previous DUI manslaughter charge.

Winthrop was being held on $150,000 bond on the sexual battery charge and no bond on the probation violation. He is due in court May 1 at 9 a.m. to answer to the charges.

Winthrop is accused of sexually battering the teenage girl several times over the course of one evening. Pinellas County sheriff’s detectives say that he and the girl consumed several alcoholic beverages and smoked marijuana while celebrating Winthrop’s 40th birthday. When the girl became sick and went to bed, Winthrop “climbed in the same bed and sexually battered the victim throughout the night,” a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office report states.

During the course of the investigation, detectives reached probable cause for Winthrop’s arrest and attempted to locate him for questioning. But he fled the area and was unable to be located, the report says.

Detectives then obtained a warrant for his arrest for sexual battery and began to search for him. An investigation led detectives to believe he was in Leesburg and the police department was then notified. The investigation into the case is continuing, the report says.

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