Violent attack in downtown garage

February 11, 2008 5:41:25 PM PST
Office workers have been getting an email warning of a violent attack inside of downtown Houston parking garage. There are some lesser crimes included in that warning too.

Believe it or not, violent crimes in downtown parking garages are rare. Police say that's exactly why the recent attack caused so much alarm.

Every day, tens of thousands of Houstonians drive into downtown, park in a parking garage and head to their offices, but on January 25th, police say one man had no such intentions. Instead, police say he spent most of the day wandering around the Hyatt Regency's parking garage until just before 5pm when he attacked a woman in an elevator.

"He placed his hand over his mouth to prevent her from screaming and he assaulted her," said Captain Gregory Fremin of the Houston Police Department.

Captain Fremin says the woman screamed loud enough that another driver in the parking garage came to help and the suspect fled. While the woman is now alright, the story of the brazen attack spread quickly among downtown office workers.

"We got an email that someone was assaulted and she got away, and keep your head up and more careful next time," said office worker Noel Martinez.

We put our exclusive Crime Tracker to use and in 2006 there were five reports of criminal acts in downtown garages and 15 in 2007. None of the crimes were violent. Police say that's why this attack caused so much concern.

"We're in a big city and that type of things happens," said office worker Mark Teshoian. "And there's good that there are systems in place to warn of the issues that we have."

There are hundreds of parking garages downtown, and that's why when it comes to safety, Houston police must also work with many of the private security forces in the buildings.

"We're limited in our resources Miya in what we can do, and it's up to all these business to partner with us," said Captain Gremin.

Investigators say now they are asking for the public's help. Take a look at the above video to see if you recognize the suspect.

The Houston police are asking for your help, if you recognize the man shown on surveillance video, please call the Sex Crimes Unit at 713-308-1180.

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