Los Angeles police are searching for a man who used a fire escape to enter a woman's apartment in Echo Park and sexually assault her while she was sleeping, the agency said Friday.
The incident happened around 5:00 a.m. on Nov. 4 at the woman's apartment located on the 1800 block of Sunset Boulevard, LAPD said in a news release Friday.
The man used a fire escape to access the woman's bedroom window. He then pried the window open, entered her bedroom and sexually assaulted her, police said.
The woman said she woke up during the assault and pushed the man away. Police said at that point, the man left the apartment through the front door.
Adam Laidlaw, who lives in the building one floor above the victim, said he became concerned after hearing noises coming from the fire escape, which is outside his bedroom window.
"There was a lot of commotion going on," he said. "I heard traffic — from one person, I thought — going up and down the stairs."
Laidlaw said he eventually confronted the suspect, who told him he was there to visit a friend on the fourth floor but was locked out. When Laidlaw found out about the assault, "I immediately thought it was my fault," he said.
But the suspect had already made entry through the victim's window. After Laidlaw let him in, the building's security cameras were able to capture video of the man ascending the building's stairs, investigators said.
Several tenants said they'd never seen the suspect before.
Richard Garcia, who has lived in the building for 20 years, said he laments not being able to help the victim in some way.
"I'm her neighbor," he said. "I wish would have heard something … I probably would have done something. Ever since that happened to her, I'm paranoid about it."
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man between 19 and 25 years old with black hair, brown eyes and a clean-shaven face. He measures about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs around 150 pounds, police said.
The man was captured on surveillance video on the morning of the sexual assault wearing a green jacket with an unknown logo on the front, dark pants and black Adidas shoes.
Anyone with information about the incident or the suspect's identity was asked to call LAPD at 213-486-6910.