Santa Ana police on Tuesday released surveillance video as they sought the public’s help in locating a man who attempted to rape a woman in the downtown area over the weekend.
Officers responded to a 7-Eleven store at First and Flower streets around 3 a.m. Sunday after a 26-year-old woman requested police assistance, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.
The victim told authorities the incident began after she went inside a bar to use the restroom. A short time after leaving the location, she was confronted by a male stranger — who had been following her — in a stairwell near Third Street and Broadway.
Surveillance video taken around 2:35 a.m. showed a struggle between the two on the steps outside a business. The man keeps grabbing and groping the woman, at one point knocking her down on the stairs as she tries to fend him off, according to the footage and police.
“Part of the video we’re showing you is the initial contact where there’s a struggle. You can see she’s inebriated. You can see he’s trying to manhandle her, get her down to the bottom, which he eventually gets her there,” said Santa Ana Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.
He can be seen dragging her down the steps before both are out of the camera’s view and the video ends.
Bertagna said the man’s pants were down, and he tried to rape the victim after sexually assaulting her.
She continued to fight him off, however, forcing the attacker to flee the scene.
According to Bertagna, the victim had been at several bars that night with friends; it was unclear whether the man had been stalking her at one of the locations.
She was alone when he confronted her.
“If you’re going to leave a bar, and you’re going to go to a parking lot, or you’re going to go look for a ride, or whatever you’re going to do, don’t do it by yourself,” Bertagna said. “There are people out there like this individual that take advantage of intoxicated people.
“This is a predator. There’s no doubt that this is not his first time he’s done this,” the corporal added.
Anyone with information about the incident can contact Orange County Crime Stoppers at 1-855-TIP-OCCS.