CLEVELAND– Cleveland police are asking for help in tracking down a man who brutally attacked a woman in a downtown parking garage. Investigators say he kidnapped, robbed and sexually assaulted her before getting away.
It happened around 7 p.m., on Valentine’s Day.
Cleveland police said a 51-year-old woman was attacked inside the parking garage at 630 Prospect Ave. The rear of the garage is across the street from Quicken Loans Arena.
“No place is truly safe. This could happen anywhere, but a lot of us who live and work downtown are pretty comfortable in our routines, and we need to take steps and make sure that we’re safe,” said downtown resident Sunny Nixon.
The woman, who was leaving work, said after she entered the garage, a man attacked and sexually assaulted her.
“Everybody worries about that in a lonely, dark, dismal place like a parking garage,” said downtown worker Mary Gabriel.
According to police, the man then forced the woman into her own vehicle and tried to drive off, but crashed while trying to leave the garage. He then robbed her and took off.
“I can tell you that my contacts that know her are very supportive and she does have a good support network around her,” Nixon said.
Nixon lives and works downtown, and is active in the growing downtown neighborhood.
“I’d like to say that I’m surprised by it, but you know, these things do happen, it could be in the city, it could be in the suburbs, it could be in a small town,” she added.
Downtown residents and workers said it is shocking that a violent crime like this could happen in such a busy area. But it’s also a reminder to always be aware, especially in parking garages, which can be more secluded.
“Now that I’ve been down here for awhile, I’ve gotten, it’s not as scary or anything, it’s like oh, people have been nice. So I don’t think I even worry myself, you know. That concerns me obviously,” said downtown worker Joseph Mitchell.
“As often as I’m out by myself, that’s something that I’m hyper aware of, and that I really want to make sure that my friends and my coworkers are really aware of, so that things like this don’t happen to them,” said Nixon.
The attacker is described as a black male, between 20 and 25 years old, brown hair and brown eyes. He stands around 5 foot 5 inches tall, and weighs between 180 and 200 pounds.