CLEVELAND – A west side woman survived an attack from a stranger while she was walking to work early Sunday.
April Lake, 25, was walking from her home near Lorain Avenue to Target on W. 117th Street in Cleveland around five o’clock in the morning. She has been an employee of the store for two years and routinely walks to work, but she realized something was different this time.
“I crossed over the bridge and about halfway over the bridge, I realized somebody was behind me and I turned full-body to look at him and let him know that I knew he was there,” said Lake, who is recovering from some minor injuries.
Lake told FOX 8 News that the unidentified man kept following her as she headed into the parking lot and towards the employee entrance.
“I realized, about a 100 feet from the door, he was still behind me, so I went to turn and look at him and ask him, like, why are you following me?” said Lake. “He ran up behind me and grabbed my pockets and tried to yank down my pants!”
According to April, her attacker tried repeatedly to remove her clothing but she fought back and he fled the scene.
Tammy Gregg shops at Target and lives near the scene of the attack. “I warn my daughter; my daughter’s in her 20s and I still worry but I’m shocked! Do I worry about myself? No, not so much, I’m somewhat cautious though,” said Gregg.
April said her attacker smelled like cigarette smoke and she managed to recall a vague description of the man. “He’s about my age, he’s mid-20s, mid to upper 20s and he was a white guy wearing a blue hoodie and some brown plaid cargo pants and he had some tennis shoes on,” said Lake.
The Target parking lot has surveillance cameras and video of the attack has been released to investigators.
April said she’ll be okay, but she has a warning for anyone out walking: “Don’t have your cell phone in your ear; make sure you don’t have headphones on; make sure that you’re always looking around - always making sure you know what’s around you and if all else fails, do not stop fighting, no matter what they're doing; don't stop fighting.”
Cleveland police are currently investigating and Target’s corporate office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.