Police: Cross-dressing thief robs man near UF campus

Alachua County Jail photo of Don Saunders
Alachua County Jail photo of Don Saunders

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A cross-dressing thief wielding a box cutter robbed a man Sunday night about a block from the University of Florida campus, the Gainesville Police Department said.

Don Saunders, 27, who is suspected to be involved in prostitution, was arrested and charged with robbery with a weapon. He is being held in the Alachua County Jail on $50,000 bond.

The victim, who is a day laborer and not a UF student, was walking to a nearby store on SW 4th Avenue when he was approached by Saunders, who asked to borrow a cigarette lighter, police said.

The victim obliged, but then Saunders grabbed him from behind, pulled the victim into the doorway of his home, pulled out a box cutter and demanded money, according to police.

The victim handed over $80 before Saunders slashed open his shirt, punched the victim in the mouth, and pushed him out, police said.

As responding officers were walking back to the scene of the crime, they ran into Saunders, who was identified by the victim.

Saunders gave multiple conflicting accounts of the encounter and was found to be in possession of the box cutter described by the victim, police said.
The victim sustained superficial injuries from the box cutter.

Police are still investigating the incident, which resulted in an alert being sent to UF students and faculty.