Woman Assaulted and Another Followed in West End
Police are investigating two incidents that occurred an hour apart and within a few blocks of each other in Portland’s West End neighborhood. Both involved a male with a similar description and operating a similarly described car.
On Sunday, October 25th, just after 7:00 p.m., police were called to the area of 32 Thomas Street for the report of a woman being assaulted. An area resident called 911 to report hearing someone screaming and calling for help. Responding officers found a 34-year-old Portland woman who had been attacked and was suffering from injuries to her face.
The woman told officers that she had been walking on Thomas Street near Carroll Street when she noticed a vehicle following her. The operator opened a passenger side window and asked for directions and then offered her a ride. When she refused, he got out of his car, walked up to her, and punched her in the face several times knocking her to the ground. Witnesses said it looked like he was trying to drag her to his car. He got back into his vehicle and drove away on Carroll Street toward Vaughan Street.
The victim suffered minor facial injuries and was treated at the scene by Portland Fire & EMS.
The suspect is described as a black male in his 30’s wearing a dark colored knit cap. He was driving a light-colored older model Toyota sedan. The victim said he appeared intoxicated and spoke with an accent.
A short time later, just after 8:00 p.m., Police received a second 911 call from a 37-year-old female that called to report as she was walking on Brackett Street toward Spring Street that she noticed a vehicle following her. She told officers that the male driver called out to her from an open window to try and get her attention. When she ignored him and took out her cellphone to make a call, he made a U-turn and then drove back toward Maine Medical Center.
She described the driver as a black male approximately 30 to 40 years-old and possibly being bald. He was driving a gray or silver Toyota Camry with a Texas paper registration plate.
Police remind residents to always be aware of your surroundings, stay in well-lit areas, and try to walk in groups when possible. The victims in these cases both quickly identified the threat. Unfortunately, the first victim was attacked so quickly she couldn’t do anything to separate herself from the attacker. In this case, Police say it was fortunate that an area resident heard the attack and called 911.
In most situations, Police recommend trying to separate yourself from the threat by changing directions, crossing the street, or entering an open business. If those options aren’t available, you should try to get the attention of other people in the area or call 911.
The Portland Police Department regularly offers self-defense training for women, Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.). R.A.D. training is a self-defense program geared toward realistic options for women in these types of attacks. For more information on this program you can call (207) 874-8643 or email ppdrad@PortlandMaine.gov.
If anyone has any information that could help Police solve this crime, please call (207) 874-8575.