Published: Aug 19, 2013 6:57 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 19, 2013 6:59 PM EDT

LEHIGH ACRES, Fla.- A Lehigh Acres woman used a creative weapon to help her fight off an attacker hiding in the back of her car.

Deputies say the woman went into the 7-11 on Lee Boulevard and Gunnery Road around 6:30 Sunday morning and bought a cup of coffee.

While she was inside the store, deputies say a man climbed into her backseat.

The woman left the gas station, heading south on Gunnery Road and didn't know she had company along for the ride, until someone reached around from behind her seat and threatened her with a knife.

The victim told deputies she stopped her car on Gunnery Road, got out, and the man followed her. She got back in her car and that's when she took her hot coffee and threw it on the man. Then she drove back to the 7-11 and called for help.

Deputies were able to identify the suspect on surveillance video. Deputies and canines used the coffee scent to track down the suspect to his Hightower Avenue home. They arrested Danny Cruz after a brief chase.

Along the coffee-scented path, deputies also found a knife and the vicitm's purse.

Tiffany Wood at the Lee County Sheriff's Office says the woman did everything she could to protect herself from the attacker. "She jumped out of her vehicle, that was one way to get away from her attacker, and also she dumped her hot coffee on the attacker. Not only is that a good way to distract the attacker, but a good way for our deputies to go out with our canines and sniff out that attacker and eventually find that attacker."