Grocery store security video, bite marks lead to arrest in attempted rape case

The suspect in an attempted rape Sunday on Bainbridge Island was arrested after a detective spotted the man while canvassing the neighborhood where the crime occurred.

Bainbridge Police Commander Sue Shultz said the man, who has not been named pending his arraignment this afternoon in Kitsap County Superior Court, fit the description given by a 19-year-old woman who was attacked while she was walking home Sunday from Safeway.

Shultz said the woman had seen her assailant earlier Sunday afternoon at the grocery store, while she was picking up a few things before going home. Police obtained a security video from the Safeway that included images of the alleged attacker, and used the video to find the suspect.

Police said the 19-year-old was walking home from Safeway on High School Road about 4:30 p.m. July 22 when a man approached her from behind, said something to her, then pushed her from behind as the woman started to walk along a trail near Madison Avenue.

A struggle ensued, and the man held the woman on the ground by the neck as he tried to remove her pants. The woman fought back and hit the man, then bit his fingers, and he then ran off.

Schultz said the man was arrested, for attempted rape in the third degree, without incident about 6:30 p.m. Monday near the place of the attack. A detective spotted the man while knocking on doors in the neighborhood and talking with residents.

He also had bite wounds on his fingers.

"His injuries were consistent with what the victim reported," Schultz said.

Schultz said the speedy arrest was the result of "good police work."

"All in all, the department really knuckled down and worked as a team. They worked collaboratively with the community and were able to get a good description," she said.

Schultz said it was too soon to say if the man arrested Monday was responsible for a second sexual assault that also occurred Sunday. A 53-year-old woman said she was walking near Madison Avenue and Bjune Drive at about 4:40 p.m. when a man approached her from behind and grabbed her crotch and buttocks.

"We are still looking into that," she said.

Schultz said the investigation is continuing, and she asked people to call police if they have any information on Sunday's assaults or related incidents.

"There may be other victims out there. If anyone has experienced a similar incident, they are urged to call the police department," Schultz said, at 206-842-5211.

Police have not had prior contacts with the man who was arrested, and he is not a registered sex offender.



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