CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — Police in Cedar Park need help finding a man who attacked a woman while she was jogging in the Silver Oak neighborhood on Thursday morning.
Police say the attack happened around 6 a.m. in the 100 block of South Gadwall, which is less than a block away from Reagan Elementary School. Initial information indicates the woman was running through the neighborhood when someone grabbed her from behind, forced her to the ground and sexually assaulted her.
“I know it can happen anywhere, but I always thought it was real safe out here,” said Debbie Hutchins, who’s lived in the neighborhood for 12 years. “I’ve never had any problems.”
The victim says the man who attacked her has a stocky build and is approximately 5’10”-5’11”. He was last seen wearing a t-shirt and shorts.
Lisa Effren, another neighbor, says news of the attack spread quickly on the block.
“Facebook messaging, all the runners were letting other runners and mothers know, to be safe, keep an extra eye, take precautions,” said Effren.
On Thursday night, Effren and her running partner were canvassing the neighborhood, trying to find vulnerable spots someone could hide in.
“Try to plan a little strategically if there’s any dusk or dark running,” said Effren. She’s also considering self-defense classes.
If you have information about the identity of this man or have seen any suspicious type of behavior in this area, please call the Cedar Park Police Department at (512) 260-4762 or send tips anonymously using the tip411 feature on our Facebook page or by downloading the CPPD Tips app to your phone.
The attack occurred just a short distance from the Cedar Park Rogue Running store and on a street where the team regularly runs.
“Our team Rogue group was out on the course where this happened,” said Jennifer Harney with Rogue Running. “They stopped all our runners to tell them what to look for.”
Reagan Elementary and Vista Ridge High School are also a short distance away. Leander Independent School District said a press release with the man’s description was sent to parents on Thursday.
Rogue Running and CPPD are taking the opportunity to remind joggers to take their headphones out and run with a partner or group if possible. The following safety tips were sent to Rogue Running team members:
- Always tell someone where you are going, your route, and when they should expect you to return.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid secluded areas when running alone.
- Run with a headlamp/lights in the dark. This is not only to see but also to draw attention to yourself.
- Run with running pepper spray which you can purchase online or at Academy.
- Run with your phone but do NOT run with headphones. If you are listening to music you can’t hear cars or people.
- Never be afraid to scream if you feel threatened.
- Go for a person’s eyes if attacked.
- Never run the same route over and over again…day after day. Switch up your routine.
- If someone pulls up beside you in a car asking a question. Keep your distance. Never move in or bend over near their window. You leave yourself vulnerable and easy to grab.
- Run in a group or with a friend if you can
Last fall, Cedar Park police arrested Clarence Richardson, 27, in connection to a sexual assault on Buttercup Creek Bouelvard. In the October case, police say Richardson entered the home by climbing in through a bedroom window on the second story while the victim was showering, according to an arrest affidavit. Richardson proceeded to lock the door to the bedroom turn off the lights and attack the homeowner in the shower.
Richardson was identified by police after recovering his fingerprints from the crime scene and matching them to a previous break-in he was involved in.