Police claim that a 21-year-old man armed with a box cutter at a cemetery tried to rape a jogger before alert bystanders scared the suspect off, causing him to leave behind his iPhone as he fled the scene.
William Perez allegedly dropped his phone while fleeing the scene, and officers used the device to confirm that he was the suspect, according to WPRI. Cops were dispatched Saturday at about 2:41 p.m. to the Mayflower Hill Cemetery after receiving multiple reports of a possible rape, according to the Taunton Police Department in Massachusetts.
Authorities reportedly identified the jogger as a 44-year-old woman. She was going to go for a run around the perimeter of the cemetery, but a man, later identified as Perez, allegedly approached her by the entrance. The man was wearing a backpack with hedge clippers sticking out. Holding a box cutter, he demanded, “You’re coming with me,” authorities said.
He allegedly dragged the jogger to the side of a nearby shed to rape her and punched her in the face with a closed fist when she resisted. Bystanders saw the attack and the assailant fled, according to officials. And one of those witnesses gave police a phone, saying it fell out of the suspect’s pocket, authorities claim.
The jogger was taken to a hospital for her injuries and released.
Investigators reportedly executed a search warrant at Perez’s home. When cops asked him for his phone number, he allegedly claimed at first not to know it, but he eventually shared it, WPRI reported. The recovered iPhone matched the number he gave, authorities said.
Police said Perez matched the suspect description and a witness positively identified him, but his attorney, Amit Singh, said there were discrepancies among the descriptions from witnesses.
“Just by looking at the police report there’s been three descriptions, one says he’s 5 feet 5, one says 5 feet 2, one says he had short hair, one says he had curly hair, so that’s like two to three different descriptions provided by whoever is involved in the case,” Singh told WBAR.
Perez is charged with kidnapping, indecent assault and battery on a person age 14 or over, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault with intent to commit rape.
He is held without bail. He is scheduled for a court hearing to take place May 19.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]