Metro police investigating multiple sexual assault attempts in p - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Metro police investigating multiple sexual assault attempts in previous weeks

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Over the weekend, we learned about a possible sexual assault and kidnapping of a woman while she was out with friends and family in Savannah's Historic District.

This is the second instance of that kind of crime in less than a week, and the third involving alleged sexual violence by a stranger in three weeks’ time.

A woman told police last Wednesday morning around 3:30, she was walking near the intersection of 37th and Jefferson, when a black or dark blue SUV cut her off, and the man driving forced her to get in at gunpoint.

The woman says she was taken to Tremont Road, where the man tried to rape and rob her. Police are looking for a black man, around 50 to 60 years old, with a gray beard and mustache. Police believe he's about 5 feet 9 inches, and around 200 pounds.

This past weekend, was another possible kidnapping and sexual assault, this time as a woman was waiting for friends in City Market in the early morning hours Saturday. When the group returned, the victim was gone and wasn't found until later in a parking lot near MLK and Broughton.

And a few weeks ago, a victim reported a man in a silver Chevy sedan pulled up next to him on Eleanor Street, started having a conversation, then fondled him and drove off.

A suspect, Mario Lemon, was arrested on Friday, July 29, for the incident on Eleanor Street. Lemon has been charged with sexual battery.

Police say there's no indication that any are related.

But that doesn't calm the concerns of advocates for victims of sexual assault in Chatham County.

Following the most recent possible sexual assault and kidnapping that happened in the early morning hours Saturday around City Market, I reached out to the Rape Crisis Center's director, who tells me they have assisted in just over 90 sexual assault cases so far this year. Last year, the center assisted in 130 cases total.

Police say whether you're enjoying Savannah's nightlife, walking home at night or even down your street in broad daylight, that maintaining situational awareness and looking out for your friends and loved ones can prevent predators from making their move.

"I think the number one mistake that anybody could make, is when you say oh, it can't happen right now in broad daylight. You've already let your guard down, your situational awareness is out the window because you feel that it is daylight outside, you do feel a lot safer. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Monsters lurk during the day and night,” said APO Brian Smith, SCMPD.

Below is the SCMPD description of two attempted sexual assault cases in the past couple of weeks:

  1. At approximately 1:45- p.m. on August 6, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police officers responded to St. Joseph’s hospital on the report of a possible kidnapping and sexual assault that had occurred sometime in the early morning hours. SCMPD Special Victim’s Unit detectives and forensics officers responded to the hospital. The victim was downtown with friends and family at several bars and was intoxicated.  The victim was waiting on a bench near Jefferson and St. Julian Streets for her friends to pick her up. When the friends returned the victim was gone.  After a search of the area, the friends located the victim in a nearby parking lot near MLK and Broughton Streets.
  2. Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a kidnapping that occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 3near W. 37th and Jefferson Streets. Reportedly, an adult female victim was walking near W. 37th and Montgomery Streets at approximately 3:30 a.m., when she noticed someone following her. As she continued walking near W. 37th and Jefferson Streets, a vehicle described as a black or blue SUV cut her off. A suspect got out and forced the victim into the vehicle at gunpoint. At Tremont Road, the suspect reportedly stopped the vehicle and attempted to sexually assault and rob the victim. At some point, the victim was able to get away and call 911. The suspect is described as a black male between 50 and 60 years old with a gray beard and mustache. He is approximately 5 feet 9 inches and weighs around 200 pounds. During the incident, he wore a black hat, shirt and pants.

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