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A free ride turns into attempted rape

October 3, 2009 12:59:34 AM PDT
A driver's apparent act of kindness turns into a nightmare for a young woman, when his offer of a ride turns into an attempted sexual assault. Now investigators are searching for that predator. Police are warning women about how dangerous this man is and the possibility that he could become even more violent. Police describe his personality as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One moment he is very concerned and caring and the next minute, he's a monster.

When you are a young woman waiting for a bus, there's no telling what kind of man is driving by or what his motives are.

"I've had experiences where they stopped and said, 'Hey what's up, how are you doing, you want to go out and get a drink or something?'" says Marisol Salcedo, a college student.

The cardinal rule is don't ride with strangers. But in the middle of the day, in busy Old Town Pasadena, a college-age woman was persuaded by one smooth talking guy who seemed so kind.

"A trusting person turned into someone who tried to rape her," says Lt. Tom Pederson of Pasadena Police. Investigators believe he may have approached other women in other places. They want to catch him before he attacks again.

On Wednesday, he picked up his unsuspecting passenger and drove her to the upscale west end of Pasadena. On the 1000 block of Linda Vista, he parked, beat her and tried to rape her.

Although the area is a very busy thoroughfare, somehow a driver passing by noticed what was happening inside that car and stopped.

"Coming into a situation, he had no idea of what he was about to get into and still took the initiative," describes Pederson.

The Good Samaritan scared off the attacker, but now, a dangerous man remains on the prowl. He could be in anyone's city. One problem in finding him is that police do not have much a of a description.

"We know this is a male, maybe Hispanic or white, about 20 years old, and we have a compact car and that is about all," says Pederson.

Most women say they are careful, but one tells us about a scary incident.

"I was just trying to go somewhere real quick because I was in a hurry," describes Pasadena resident Stephanie Ladero.

When she got an offer, she went but instantly regretted it.

"I thought my life was in danger and thank god he let me out of the car," says Ladero.

A future passenger may not be so lucky.

If you have any information about this suspect, you are asked to contact the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4517. The police warn that he may be around the Pasadena area but he also may be around other areas.

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