PANORAMA CITY (CBSLA.com) — Authorities have released a sketch of a man they say attacked a 36-year-old woman last week in Panorama City as she walked to the drug store.
“So far, this is the only such attack we’re aware of,” said LAPD Lt. Paul Vernon. “This type of stranger attack is very rare, but represents a real danger. We want to find this guy right away.”
The Feb. 12 attack occurred after the victim parked her car on a dark residential street and began walking to the CVS drug store at 8252 Van Nuys Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
It was around 7 p.m. and she noticed that stretch of Titus Street was rather dark and secluded so decided to move her car closer to the store. She told police she had already tried to park in the CVS parking lot but it was full.
As the victim returned to her car, someone reportedly pulled her hair from behind and placed a cloth over her face. The woman fought back, screaming and kicking the man as he ripped at her clothing.
Police credit the woman’s response with getting her attacker to flee.
The victim went home didn’t tell anyone what happened for several days because she felt scared and ashamed, police said.
“The feeling of shame is common for victims, but as a police officer I would tell her to be proud of defending herself,” Lt. Vernon explained. “She did everything right. Listening to that voice in her head that said ‘something is not right’ prepared her to defend herself and made her a survivor. It could have been much worse. Her actions were the first steps to catching this predator.”
Police are canvassing businesses in the area for video footage and searching parolee rosters for suspects who fit the sketch.
The suspect was described as Hispanic and speaking Spanish and English. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, thin and between 30 and 35 years old.
Anyone with information on this crime was asked to call Detective Marc Madero at (818) 838-9969. Calls can also be made to (877) LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anonymous tips can be made by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads). All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to http://www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.