DOWNTOWN — Santa Monica police on Tuesday asked for the public’s help in locating a man who they say attacked a woman in an elevator last week.

The assault occurred at 9 a.m. on July 11 when the woman arrived for work at 429 Santa Monica Blvd. and parked her vehicle on the bottom level of the building’s subterranean garage. The building is home to the Union Bank of California and other businesses.

The woman entered the elevator, at which time the suspect emerged and got in with her. Once the elevator doors closed, police say the suspect immediately assaulted the victim, while making a statement which led her to believe she was going to be raped. The victim fought back and when the elevator stopped a few floors up, the suspect ran off, police said.

A witness waiting for the elevator where the suspect exited tried to follow him but lost him as he made his way onto Fifth Street and out of sight.

The suspect is described as a male Latino or Middle Eastern in his late 20s, 5-feet 7-inches tall and weighing 150 pounds with short, straight black hair, brown eyes and a light goatee. Police said he has unknown tattoos on his arms. He was wearing a black or dark gray colored tank top, and orange and red board shorts.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with additional information is asked to contact Detective Phillip DeRyck at (310) 458-8944, Sgt. Darrick Jacob at (310) 458-8460 or the Santa Monica Police Department (24 hours) at (310) 458-8495.

Those who wish to remain anonymous can call WeTip at 1-800-78-CRIME (1-800-78-27463), or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. Callers will remain completely anonymous and may be eligible for a reward, up to $1,000, if your information leads to an arrest and conviction.

Or, anonymous tipsters can contact Crime Stoppers by either calling (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or by visiting their website at www.lacrimestoppers.org. To text an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers view their webpage for detailed instructions. If the information leads to an arrest, the tipster is eligible to receive a reward up to $1,000.

kevinh@smdp.com