PUBLIC SAFETY FACILITY — Santa Monica Police officers are warning women to be vigilant, and, if possible, travel with a companion following reports of two attempted kidnappings in the city by the sea in the past three days.
No suspects were in custody as of Friday night as detectives reviewed surveillance video to determine if they have to track down one suspect or two.
Both victims described a black male with short, shaved hair, but that’s where the similarities end. Police did not release the ages of the two women attacked.
One victim said her attacker was in his 30s, 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed around 200 to 230 pounds. He had a beard and was wearing blue jeans and a black hooded sweatshirt. The man emerged from a late model, black VW four-door hatch back with tinted windows.
The woman told police that she was walking along the 1600 block of Ocean Avenue at around 8 p.m. on Wednesday when the suspect drove past her and parked. He got out of his car and stood near it as if he was waiting for someone. As the woman passed, the suspect grabbed her in a bear hug and moved her a few feet toward the car, ordering her to get in.
As he did that, a person appeared in a nearby stairwell of an apartment building, causing the suspect to let go of the woman. She walked away and immediately called police.
The second incident took place Friday morning at 10:30 as the woman was walking south on 14th Street near Olympic Boulevard. Police said the woman saw her attacker walking south, ahead of her on the same side of the street. She didn’t pay much attention to him and eventually passed him a few blocks later.
Moments later she said she heard footsteps behind her and felt the suspect grab her waist with one hand and covered her mouth with his other hand.
He then ordered her to get into a car. She screamed and the suspect ran away while she ran south toward Pico Boulevard.
She did not see the vehicle involved but was able to identify the suspect as a black male in his 20s, 5 feet 10 inches tall with a thin build. He was wearing dark colored shorts with an orange or red stripe on them and a matching short-sleeve shirt.
Detectives believe the suspects in both incidents is the same guy, but have yet to confirm that.
The fact that the suspect or suspects chose to commit one crime in daylight and both on well-traveled streets indicates that “they are bold and they are dangerous,” said SMPD Sgt. Jay Moroso.
Police want the public to remain alert and report any suspicious activity. In both cases the women were walking alone. Police want women to always be on the lookout and aware of their surroundings. If possible, travel with someone.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact the SMPD at (310) 458-8491 or 911 if the situation is an emergency. Those who wish to remain anonymous can also contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or www.lacrimestoppers.org. If the information leads to an arrest, the tipster is eligible to receive a reward of up to $1, 000.