VENICE, Fla. - A Venice sex offender accused of abducting a woman this week may be responsible for other attempts on the Suncoast. Venice Police say Ronald Karas is being investigated now in two crimes, all while wearing a GPS tracking bracelet from a crime he committed in another state.
Authorities say Karas picked up the victim near Tamiami Trail and Avenida del Circo. Police believe he was cruising for victims while already under surveillance.
Authorities say Wednesday’s incident was likely just the latest. They say Karas offered a ride and job to a 20-year-old female. Once inside, the woman says he offered sex in exchange for money, started touching her and wouldn't let her out.
"When she realized she was in trouble, she reached out the window and let herself out. The handle wasn't working," says Venice Police Chief Tom McNulty.
He says Karas may also be responsible for trying to lure another teenage girl into his van a few weeks earlier. "We have a guy who was virtually stalking women…a predator at this point."
Karas is a registered sex offender who was convicted of luring a child to perform sex acts in North Dakota. "These people don't get better. It's my opinion you cannot cure them," says Chief Mcnulty.
Local psychologist Christopher Cortman agrees. "The recidivism rate is very high. It's problematic. For the most part treatment is not very affective."
Karas is actually already being monitored with a GPS ankle bracelet for the previous crime.
"You can't keep them from living a life. You can't keep them from living in some neighborhood. What you can do is let them know you are going to monitor their activities," says McNulty.
Unfortunately they can really only use the device to see where they've been. Cortman says even with the risk of getting caught later, the temptation for some is still too much. "It demonstrates that unless someone is completely restrained and restricted in some way, that they are going to go out and do it."
Chief McNulty says they're just happy Karas is off the streets for now. "This is definitely predatory type of involvement on his part. It's going to lead to something worse."
Karas was also charged with having some drugs and paraphernalia. He is still in jail with no bond.
Anyone who has been a victim of Ronald Karas, or who has had - or knows anyone who has had - an incident similar in nature should contact the Venice Police Department at (941) 486-2444.