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Cab driver arrested for sexual assault

June 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A woman called a cab for a ride home from a Hollywood nightclub. She says at her house the driver followed her inside and sexually assaulted her. He's under arrest, and police are looking for other victims. The possibility there may be other victims led police to release the suspect's photo in the hope other women will come forward.

The assault happened three weekends ago on Sunday, May 17. The victim, 31, was picked up at a nightclub along Cahuenga Blvd. just south of Hollywood Blvd.

According to the LAPD, the victim did everything right: she needed a ride home so she hailed a cab.

The L.A. Department of Transportation is stressing that with 2,300 licensed cab drivers in the city of L.A., taking a cab is still a safe way to get around town.

Still, the LAPD is asking for your help. They believe that there could be other victims.

It was 2 a.m. when 38-year-old Armen Ayvazian of North Hills picked the alleged victim up and drove her home.

"When she entered her residence, he followed in behind her and he sexually assaulted her and left the location," said Lieutenant Felicia Hall, LAPD.

Ayvazian was arrested June 3. He remains in custody. His bail is set at $235,000.

The taxi cab company he drove for, Independent Cab Company, cooperated fully, according to police.

"Those cabs are inspected, those drivers are permitted," said Robert Johnson, L.A. Dept. of Transportation. "We check out their criminal history and make sure that the drivers are the perfect person to drive the cab. Just an isolated incident in this case."

Reaction was mixed when people were asked if they feel comfortable taking a cab.

"I feel like, is this person going to do something to me? I don't know this stranger in front of this car, because it's not a normal thing in L.A., so I feel a little uneasy," said L.A. resident Rosalind Jackson.

"If it was late at night and I didn't like the feel of the driver, I wouldn't get in," said Melissa Rodwell, resident of L.A. "But for the most part that hasn't really happened here. I'm not going anywhere real far out either, just kind of local stuff. It's all right."

The LAPD believes there could be other victims. If you have any information on this case you're urged to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-247 (877-527-3247).

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