Police seek man who raped woman outside Marley Station Attack in mall parking lot at midday sparks worries

September 27, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County police are looking for a man who pushed a 21-year-old woman into her car and raped her last month in a place most women don't consider a dangerous spot to walk alone -- the parking lot of a shopping mall during the busy lunch period.

The Gambrills woman was unlocking her car at 11: 45 a.m. Aug. 5 after shopping at Marley Station mall, 7900 Ritchie Highway in Glen Burnie, when a man in his late 20s approached her from behind, said Anne Arundel County police spokeswoman Officer Carol Frye.

Frye said the unarmed man forced the woman into the front seat and raped her, then left, walking toward Ritchie Highway.

The woman drove away from the mall, Frye said, but did not report the crime to police until last week because "she was very frightened to come forward."

First attack at mall

Frye and Marley Station General Manager Charmaine Crismond said the rape is the first such incident at the mall.

Crismond added that the parking lot where it occurred -- just outside the mall's main entrance between Hecht's and Macy's and facing Ritchie Highway -- is one of Marley Station's busiest and most visible.

"We're disturbed about this incident," Crismond said. "Safety is a major concern at all times. Our security staff patrols both the inside and the outside of the shopping center 24 hours a day."

Crismond said mall management informed all stores about the rape and distributed copies of a sketch of the man Thursday.

Police described him as a thin white man, about 5 feet 8 or 5 feet 9 inches tall, with short, dark-blond hair. He was wearing a white T-shirt, gray shorts and a white baseball cap at the time of the attack.

Yesterday, shoppers walking through the parking lot where the attack occurred were shocked to learn of it.

"It makes me nervous," said Diane Jackson, 32, of Pasadena, who frequently shops at Marley Station.

"I used to shop at [The Mall in] Columbia, but I started shopping here because a friend of mine who's a Howard County police officer said, 'Don't go to Columbia by yourself.' I thought this would be safer."

Nita Stillman of Glen Burnie, who said she is over 60, was especially shocked about the time of the attack.

"You would expect it more at nighttime," she said. "Maybe they should increase security here."

An isolated incident

Frye said police think the attack was an isolated incident.

"What we think is, this particular person just saw an opportunity and acted upon it," she said.

She said this case could be difficult to solve because of the delay in filing a report.

Anyone with information should call Detective Robert Aurand at 410-222-3459.

In the meantime, Christina Samuel, 18, who is a Sandlass Co. cashier at the mall, said she's plotted a method of self-defense when leaving the mall.

"When I walk to the car now I carry my keys in my hand," she said. "If anything happens, I'll just stab him."

Pub Date: 9/27/98

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