SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA.com) — San Bernardino police are searching for a man suspected of sexually assaulting a woman in the parking lot of the newly vacant Carousel Mall this week.
Officers responded around 6:20 p.m. Thursday to a report of a sexual assault near the shopping center, located a block east of the 215 Freeway, between 2nd and 4th streets.
The victim reported she had exited a bus near the area of 4th Street and F Street and was walking southbound through the mall parking lot when she was attacked, police say.
“She felt that she was being followed,” said Lt. Richard Lawhead of the San Bernardino Police Department. “She tried to initially elude that.”
According to investigators, the suspect threatened the victim with a screwdriver and directed her to a “fairly secluded area” where the suspect forced her to engage in sexual acts.
The suspect threatened the victim before allowing her to leave the area and fled on foot, police say.
Lt. Lawhead said there have not been any other recent sexual assaults reported in the area, which some described as unsafe.
“It’s just unsafe. You know, a lot of people hang out downtown. Young guys. Other guys. A lot of homeless people,” Tanisha Swain, a bus driver, said.
The suspect description is vague.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Sherry Vasilis at (909) 384-5637 or Sergeant Brett Birnbaum at (909) 384-5659.