Los Angeles: On April 28, 2010, Los Angeles Police Department West Valley Area detectives arrested a suspect believed to be responsible for a string of attempts since at least March 2009 to kidnap and/or sexually assault young women, mostly in the West Valley area. Detectives are asking for others who may have been similarly victimized by the suspect to come forward.
At this time, the first known incident occurred on March 19, 2009, about 6 p.m., when 23-year-old suspect Jose Perez approached a 15-year-old girl from behind at a Sherman Oaks area school where she was a student. Placing his hand over her mouth, he dragged her into the bushes near a classroom and began to sexually assault and punch her as she struggled. After a short time, Perez stopped what he was doing and ran from the location.
The second known incident occurred on May 8, 2009, about 4:30 p.m. Again, the victim was a 15-year-old girl. As she approached the gate of her apartment building, the suspect grabbed her from behind and began to drag her toward his vehicle. Struggling, they both fell to the ground, and Perez then left the location in the four-door, silver Volkswagen he was driving.
A third incident happened on Nov. 11, 2009, to a 13-year-old girl. As the girl walked to the home of a friend, she saw the suspect get out of a white, GMC Yukon SUV. Perez approached her, grabbed her arms and pulled her several feet toward his vehicle. Fortunately, the victim was able to break free of his grasp, and the suspect drove away in his car.
At least two more incidents involving Perez occurred in April of this year. On April 26, a 13-year-old girl was sitting in front of a Van Nuys area school when she saw the suspect coming toward her in a gray Volkswagen Jetta. After parking nearby, he got out of his car, approached the victim and began asking her questions. He then lowered his body and fondled her, at which time she immediately pushed his hand aside, stood up and walked away. At that point, the suspect got back into his car and drove off, but the victim was able to make note of his license plate number.
Two days later, on April 28, an 18-year-old woman exited a school bus and was walking home when she noticed a white SUV slowing down alongside her. As she passed the vehicle, the suspect got out of his car and approached her from behind. He then grabbed her, lifted her off the ground and walked her back to his car where he forced her into the rear of the vehicle. Fortunately, the woman’s uncle happened to be in the immediate area. As Perez attempted to close the door, the victim’s uncle heard his niece screaming for help and started to run toward the suspect, startling him. The victim was then able to get out of the vehicle, and the suspect drove away, heading west in an alley and then north on Lindley Avenue. Once again, his license plate number was captured.
LAPD officers were summoned to the April 28 incident, responding to a call of an attempted kidnapping. After speaking with the victim’s uncle and getting descriptions of the suspect and his vehicle, along with details of the incident, the officers were immediately able to broadcast Perez’ description and his vehicle information. Two Devonshire Area officers who heard the broadcast began searching for the suspect’s vehicle and observed one matching its description at Parthenia Street and Reseda Boulevard. After conducting a traffic stop, they were able to take Perez into custody without incident. He remains in custody and his bail has been set at $2.13 million.
Both the 18-year-old victim and her uncle were brought to the location where Perez was arrested and detained to identify him, and both confirmed that the arrestee was the man they had encountered. Also, the 14-year-old victim from the April 26 incident identified Perez without hesitation in a lineup. “All of the victims up to this point are to be commended for valiantly resisting the suspect,” said LAPD West Valley Commanding Officer Captain John Egan. “Their efforts played an important part in facilitating their escape.”
Detectives believe there could be additional victims and strongly encourage anyone who has more information or believes he or she has been subjected to Perez’ assaults to come forward by calling Lt. Edward Pape or Detective John Doerbecker at 818-374-7730. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) using a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters can also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “web tips” and follow the prompts.