Police search for man in attempted sexual assault

August 28, 2012

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Interim Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware is warning area women who jog or walk to travel in pairs and be aware of their surroundings, following an attempted attack on a woman jogging around Greenlawn Cemetery.

“Shortly after 8 p.m. on Saturday, a woman was jogging alone, and was attacked by a male who tried to sexually assault her,” Ware said. “She did get away, and it is currently under investigation. We’re trying to develop leads. So we’re asking that anybody who may have seen someone hanging out in the area who didn’t look right or who was just sitting on a parking lot or alongside the road watching people to give us a call and let us know what they saw. It may or may not be important. But we’re wanting everybody to be cognizant of what has occurred. And that little tip that something may not have seemed right to you may be just what we’re looking for to help break the case.”

Ware said any information should be directed to the Police Department’s Detective Division at 740-354-1600 or their dispatch number 740-353-4101.

“Most importantly we want women in particular to feel safe when they are walking or jogging,” Ware said. “The Kinney’s Lane area is a popular area for joggers from the (SOMC) Life Center, or those just following the 5K route that is posted up there.”

Ware said there are several things women can do to protect themselves under the circumstances.

“Some of the things they can do is never jog alone; never walk alone, have a buddy with you,” Ware said. “Be cognizant of your surroundings; be aware of who is around you, what’s around you. It’s popular to put the ear buds in and listen to your music and zone out. But when you do that, make sure the volume is down enough to where you can hear somebody is approaching you rapidly. Just be cognizant of your surroundings. Don’t jog in the secluded areas, whether it’s alleyways or if you are going to cut through the cemetery, once again, have somebody with you. And if you can’t have a partner out there with you, at least be aware of what is going on.”

Ware said this is not the first such case they have been working on.

“We had a couple of incidents around a year ago, that we’re looking at the details of to see if they may or may not be related to this recent incident,” Ware said.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com.