A man attempted to rape a woman outside her Van Nuys apartment over the weekend and several witnesses are seen in surveillance video passing the area without alerting authorities, Los Angeles Police Department officials announced Tuesday.
The incident occurred about 5:30 a.m. Aug. 12 in the 14000 block of Vanowen Street as the victim was returning home from getting coffee, detectives said during a news conference Monday.
A man approached the victim, who is 35 and is about 5 feet tall, and began speaking to her in Spanish. When the woman got to her apartment she politely asked the man to leave her alone and she attempted to get into the complex using a key card.
The man then blocked her pathway several times and began to touch her and harass her, police said.
The man then managed to get her on the ground and took off her pants and panties.
The incident was caught on surveillance video, which also shows several cars slow down as the assault is occurring. A woman is also seen in the video walking by, but she did not stop or call police, authorities said.
The victim “fought like a tiger,” for several minutes and screamed “fire” until the man ran away, Capt. Lilian Carranza said in Spanish during the news conference.
Police want to speak to anyone who witnessed the crime, and said that the fact that no one called police was “alarming.”
“If you see a fellow human being that needs help, make that phone call,” Carranza said.
The man apparently was not armed and did not rob the victim during the incident. The victim told police, however, that the man smelled of alcohol.
Investigators said the attacker and victim did not know each other.
He is believed to be in his 40s and is about 5 feet 9 inches tall. He is described as having a bald or shaved head and was wearing a baseball cap with an emblem and possibly a button up polo shirt.
Anyone with information about the incident can call 818-374-0007.