Man held on attempted rape charges

March 10, 1995|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Sun Staff Writer

Westminster City Police arrested a 38-year-old man and charged him with the attempted rape of a woman in the first block of E. Main St. yesterday.

Police said a man went into a shop in downtown Westminster about 12:45 p.m. and told a female employee he was there to pick up a child's swing for a nearby store run by a local rescue mission. The employee said she was not familiar with a swing being donated, but said there were some coats in the back room to be donated to the mission store. She went to a back room to obtain the articles and was followed by the man, police said.

When she reached the back room, the woman was grabbed from behind by the man, who cupped one hand over her mouth.

The man then pulled a bandanna from his pocket and stuffed it into the victim's mouth, police said. The man displayed a kitchen knife, police said.

The woman told police the telephone rang, apparently distracting the man, and she was able to pull the bandanna from her mouth and ask the man to answer the phone.

About that time, police said, a customer entered the store. Upon seeing the customer, the man fled from the store and the woman called 911. She gave police a description of the man and officers began searching the area.

A man was arrested on Winters Street near Bishop Street, about seven blocks away, by Lt. Randy Barnes and Capt. Roger Joneckis. Lieutenant Barnes said he was driving on Winters Street and came up behind a man wearing clothing matching that worn by the attacker.

"He had a knife blade protruding several inches out of his back pocket and I stopped the car and approached him with my weapon in hand," Lieutenant Barnes said. "I told him to lie on the ground."

The man had the knife, surgical gloves, a bandanna and rope in his pockets, police said.

Police said Robert Michael Garland, 38, was charged with attempted first-degree rape, attempted first-degree sex offense, attempted third-degree sex offense with a weapon and attempted first-degree rape by suffocation and threat of death. He also faces nine additional rape and sex offense counts.

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