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.
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.
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“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.