The man who attacked a Pikesville woman Wednesday night raped her despite the woman's frantic pleas that she was seven months' pregnant, Baltimore County police said yesterday.
Police said the attacker approached the 40-year-old woman from behind and beat her unconscious in the parking lot of Greenspring Shopping Center in the 2800 block of Smith Ave.
The man then tied up the woman, threw her into a car and drove to the 100 block of Lakefront Drive in Cockeysville, where she regained consciousness and began pleading that she was pregnant.
"We know the victim did, in her cries for help, tell him she was pregnant," said Cpl. Vickie Warehime, a police spokeswoman.
The woman, whose name police have not released, was expected to be released from Greater Baltimore Medical Center last night. Warehime said doctors treated her for head injuries and prevented a miscarriage.
Police have no suspects and few leads in the case, Warehime said.
"We still don't know if they knew each other or if he knew of her," Warehime said. "We have not received any tips from the public."
Police used dogs yesterday to find the exact location where the attack in the parking lot occurred about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Warehime said the officers discovered dried blood and some other evidence, which she would not reveal, on the western side of the parking lot.
Police are also investigating a 911 call Wednesday night from a caller who reported seeing a man and woman apparently arguing in the parking lot.
In Cockeysville, the man drove away in a white four-door car after robbing the woman of $50. The woman walked to a nearby business for help, police said.
Joel Dinolt, 29, said the woman came to his office about 11:30 p.m. and asked him to call for help. Dinolt said the woman did not have a shirt on and had a bloodied face.
"She was very, very scared and terrified," Dinolt said. "She said she needed to call her husband."
Dinolt called the woman's husband, but no one answered the phone. He said the woman told him she was walking to the Automated Teller Machine and Metro Food Market when she stopped to use the bathroom at the Shell gas station at the shopping center. The woman was attacked shortly after leaving the station. She told Dinolt she did not know her attacker.
This is the second time in a month that a woman in Baltimore County has reported being abducted and raped.
On April 23, a Reisterstown teen-ager reported being abducted from the parking lot of St. Joseph Medical Center and raped on the Towson University campus. No arrests have been made.
Warehime said yesterday that "police are confident" the two cases are not related.
Police were unable to provide up-to-date county rape statistics yesterday.
Shelly Apple, program director for TurnAround, a nonprofit organization that provides counseling for rape victims, said her statistics show a surge in reported rapes this year in the county. Apple's organization works with GBMC - where county victims go if they want to be examined for forensic evidence - to counsel rape victims after they arrive at the hospital.
TurnAround counselors were called to assist 46 county sexual assault cases during the first four months of this year, Apple said, compared with 12 cases during the same period last year. Apple also reports an increase in sexual assaults so far this year in the city.
According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, 240 rapes were reported in the county in 2000 - the last year for which statistics were available - compared with 190 in 1999 and 226 in 1998.
Warehime supplied statistics for the first six months of last year, which showed a 9.4 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2000.
Apple said the Baltimore area is known for having more "stranger rapes" - in which the woman does not know her assailant - than other areas of the country. Nationwide, 85 percent of all rapes occur between a man and a woman who know each other, Apple said.
In Baltimore city and county, about half of all rapes involve a woman who does not know her attacker, according to TurnAround statistics.
"I guess that is just because there is so much more violent, unpredictable crime," Apple said.
But Apple said it is uncommon for a pregnant woman to be raped by a stranger. When pregnant women are raped, husbands or boyfriends are typically the attackers, Apple said.
Little evidence of Wednesday's attack existed yesterday at the Greenspring Shopping Center.
But inside Miller's Delicatessen, where a dozen elderly men meet daily to discuss religion and politics, the rape replaced the Middle East conflict as the topic of discussion. "It just leaves a sickening feeling that will not go away," said Bernie Goldstein, 81. "Who would do that?"