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Man attacks employee at Culver City mall

March 19, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police released surveillance video Friday hoping to identify a man who allegedly tried to sexually assault an employee at the Westfield Culver City Shopping Mall.The incident happened in an empty hallway at the mall, located at 6000 Sepulveda Boulevard, during the last week of February. Police did not release the date of the attack.

Police said the suspect entered a store in the mall through a rear corridor service door. He was caught on surveillance video moments before the attack.

The 22-year-old female victim told police the man had said he was with mall security and lured her into the isolated hallway, where he attempted to sexually assault her. She managed to escape unharmed and called the police.

"He was able to lure the victim into the corridor behind the store. It's an adjacent area for workers only," said Culver City Police Lt. Milton McKinnon.

The suspect was described as a black male, 20-25 years old, with a medium build and light complexion.

Authorities are now warning mall employees to be cautious.

"I can see if you caught somebody walking to their car or something, but inside the mall? How would you get away with that?" said Culver City resident Edward Matthews.

"It's creepy, it's frightening," said Culver City resident Bonnie Sloane. "I've lived in this area for 25 years. I've raised two daughters here. There have been incidents at that mall before and we've always had to be real careful about parking real close to the doors, you know, with the underground parking garage."

Investigators are looking for any information to help them identify the suspect seen in the surveillance video. If you recognize the suspect, you're urged to call Culver City Police at (310) 837-1221.