Officers arrest fugitive accused of punching Italian tourist in Fort Lauderdale

Officers found Raffaella Baldassarre bruised and bloody on Friday in Fort Lauderdale Beach.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Officers found Raffaella Baldassarre bruised and bloody on Friday in Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Baldassarre, a tourist from Italy, said she was riding her bicycle and stopped at a bike rack across the street from the Ritz Carlton Hotel when a man she had never met punched her.

Baldassarre, who is an artist, said her head hit the ground. She felt terror and tried to get away from the attacker.

“I jumped in the sand.”

Baldassarre said lifeguards and others came to her rescue and police officers responded within minutes. Officers arrested a 55-year-old fugitive near the intersection of Castillo Street and North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, police said.

Detective Ali Adamson, a spokeswoman for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, reported the attacker was Carlos Moraleza. He had an active warrant out for his arrest since March 24, Broward County court records show.

The Hollywood Police Department had accused Moraleza of lodging on private property without consent and carrying an open alcoholic beverage in public on Feb. 9, Broward County court records show.

Moraleza is also a convicted felon. The Florida Department of Corrections released him from prison on Dec. 1, 2019 after he served 10 years for a robbery in Miami-Dade County, FDOC records show.

Corrections deputies were holding Moraleza without bond on Friday afternoon in the Broward County main jail. He is facing a battery charge and a charge of lodging on private property without consent.

Location

Local 10 News Assignment Desk Editor Emily Hales contributed to this report.


About the Authors:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.