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Los Angeles: A taxi driver who allegedly sexually assaulted five women in a taxi was arrested yesterday and detectives are seeking additional victims and anyone with information to come forward.
On January 21, 2009, at around 10:30 p.m., Eric Clay, 37, of Hollywood was arrested near 7th Street and Central Avenue after a woman flagged down a patrol unit and told them she saw a man inside a taxicab that resembled a composite sketch of a suspect that was drawn on a Los Angeles Police Department community crime alert bulletin. Clay was booked at Parker Center and is being held in lieu of a $300,000 bail amount.
LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Detectives (RHD) said the incidents occurred between August 22 and December 22, 2008. In each incident, the lone customer accepted a cab ride and was picked up in the area of Central Avenue, Main Street and East 6th and 8th Streets. Once inside the taxi, the passenger was driven to a location where the suspect parked his cab on a street curb and thereafter he proceeded to sexually assault the victim inside the cab. Afterwards, the suspect abandoned the victim at the scene and drove away.
The suspect drove and committed his crimes in a taxi with a legally marked seal and with a phone number and taxi light displayed. The taxi was leased from an operational taxi company, detectives said.
Over the past six weeks, detectives from RHD, Central Patrol and Vice, Fugitive Warrant Section and the Department of Transportation have set up surveillance, and patrolled and canvassed the area to come up with leads and to distribute to the public the flyer with the drawing sketch, in attempt to track down Clay. “This series highlights the vulnerability of homeless people in the Skid Row and the value of having uniformed officers on patrol”, said Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz.
The first incident occurred on Friday, August 22, 2008, at around 9:00 p.m. The victim was picked up from 7th Street and San Pedro Avenue, was taken to the area of 11th Street and Burlington Avenue and sexually assaulted.
A second incident occurred on Saturday, November 15, 2008, just before 8 p.m. The victim was picked up from 7th Street and Towne Avenue. She was taken to 12th Street and Towne Avenue where she was sexually assaulted.
The third incident occurred on Thursday, November 20, 2008, at around 11:00 a.m. The victim was picked up from 6th Street and Gladys Avenue. The suspect drove her to 8th Street and Garland Avenue where he sexually assaulted her.
The fourth incident occurred on Saturday, November 29, 2008, at around 9:00 p.m. The victim was picked up from 8th Street and Los Angeles Street and was taken to the area of 20th Street and Maple Avenue where she was sexually assaulted.
The fifth and most recent assault occurred on Monday, December 22, 2008, at around 4:30 a.m., when the victim was picked up from 7th Street and Towne Avenue and was driven to Palmetto Street and Santa Fe Avenue where she was sexually assaulted.
Anyone who may have information is asked to contact Sexual Assaults Section at 213-485-2921 After hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 or by texting CRIMES (274637) and begin the message with the letters LAPD. Tipsters may also submit information on the LAPD website www.lapdonline.org. All tips are anonymous.