Sheriff warns public to 'proceed with caution' after women assaulted

Published: Mar. 29, 2014 at 2:30 AM CDT
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Images from LA Cheer Force incident (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff"s Office)
Images from LA Cheer Force incident (Source: Ascension Parish Sheriff"s Office)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office is warning the public to "proceed with caution" when you're out alone at night. There have been two suspicious incidents this week that involve a man assaulting women in parking lots at night.

The first one happened on March 24 around 10:39 p.m. at LA Cheer Force in the 14000 block of Tiger Bend Road. According to reports, around 8 p.m. two teenage girls were leaving the building and trying to get into their vehicle when a man approached them and made inappropriate sexual comments. The girls left in their vehicle.

According to an employee at the facility, the man returned around 8:37 p.m. wearing only the t-shirt and what appeared to be dark-colored underwear. He was then allegedly looking through the front glass door. When the employee tried to  make contact with the man, he ran to his vehicle and left the area. He left in what appeared to be a silver hatchback or possibly a small SUV, newer model or wagon-style with flared rear fenders.

Another incident occurred Thursday around 9 p.m. where a woman was approached by a man while leaving Bally's Gym at Perkins Rowe.

The woman stated the man appeared to be recording her with his cell phone as she walked to her vehicle parked at Fresh Market. She told deputies the man approached her as she neared her vehicle and began asking her personal questions about her age and where she lived. She stated when she started to get in her car, he grabbed her arm. She pulled free and closed the door. She stated he went around to the passenger side and knocked on her window as she drove off.

The man was described as Hispanic, 18 to 20 years old, 5'5" to 6'00" in height. He was wearing a gray shirt with blue jeans, no facial hair and short spiked black hair. He appeared to drive an unknown dark sedan.

Tari Trosclair owns Tari's Dance Studio on Perkins Rd. Just down the street from Bally's.  Two years ago she hired off duty Baton Rouge Police officers  to do security. She says this should be a new trend for business in Baton Rouge.

"I think maybe more businesses in Baton Rouge need to step up and start providing security especially if you have women clients," said Trosclair.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff's spokeswoman Casey Hicks wants to inform the public, there are several things that can protect themselves.

"Exercise caution when parking. Try to park in well lit areas. And if you see anything suspicious please call the sheriff's office," said Hicks.

It is unknown if these incidents are related, but the Sheriff's Office is asking residents to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Anyone with information concerning these incidents is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at 225-389-5000 or CrimeStoppers anonymously at 225-344-7867(STOP).

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