Detectives are steps closer Thursday to tracking down a man they describe as a violent predator who sexually assaulted a woman at a Van Nuys store, thanks to tips from neighborhood residents and business owners.
Tuesday night around 7 p.m., the man walked into a hair salon on Vanowen Street — not identified by investigators because of the ongoing investigation — and dragged an employee to the back of the shop, where he sexually assaulted her before leaving.
Investigators said he pretended to be a customer, waited for others to leave and then grabbed her and dragged her fighting to the back of the shop.
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He is described as a 30-year-old man with black hair and brown eyes. He stands about 6 feet tall and weighs about 180 pounds.
Police released surveillance video of the attacker Wednesday, and it has already generated a tips from the community. The owner of a nearby liquor store said he possibly goes by the name of Enrique, and gave investigators additional surveillance video of him.
"We've gotten a lot of calls from some of the viewers," said LAPD Lt. Jim Gavin.
Investigators are expediting DNA analysis as they try to identify the attacker.
“We need to get this predator off the streets,” said LAPD Lt. Jim Gavin. “In my 28 years I’ll never forget this. This was shocking to see in video.”
A security guard at a nearby bar said he kicked "Enrique" out of the business Monday night. Others in the area said they are vaguely familiar with him, too.
"It's providing, pretty much, a footprint of his daily life," Gavin said.