Panorama City: LAPD Detectives have released a composite of a Hispanic man who attacked a 36-year-old woman walking to the drug store last Wednesday evening, February 12, 2014.
“So far, this is the only such attack we’re aware of,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, commanding officer of the Mission Detective Division. “This type of stranger attack is very rare, but represents a real danger. We want to find this guy right away.”
Around 7 PM, the victim drove her car to the CVS drug store in Panorama City. When she saw the parking lot was full, she parked her car on the street at the northeast corner of Titus Street and Van Nuys Boulevard. As she walked toward the store, she noticed it was too dark and secluded so she walked back to the car to move it to a safer place.
As she returned to her car, someone pulled her hair from behind and placed a cloth over her face. The woman fought back as the man ripped at her clothing. She screamed and kicked at the man, who ran away. The woman went home, feeling scared and ashamed, and she did not tell anyone what happened for several days.
“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 rolls for suspects who fit the MO or the composite. The suspect is described as Hispanic, speaks Spanish and English, 5’10” tall, thin, and 30 to 35 years old.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Detective Marc Madero, Mission Sex Unit, at 818-838-9969. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to www.LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.