PUYALLUP — A man accused of attempting to sexually attack a woman on a busy sidewalk was arrested Wedneday night.
“He showed me his lighter and I just kept walking,” the alleged victim said.
She was on a walk to Walmart when a man tried to strike up a conversation on a sidewalk on 5th Street Southeast. The woman ignored him, making her way into the store, but she saw him again on her way back home and this time his words were shocking.
“He said hey little girl, what are you doing out so late? You realize you could get raped?” the alleged victim said.
She said that from there, it got violent.
“He pushed me onto the fence and I was kind of like sideways, like not completely facing him,” she said.
The woman said the man groped her but she quickly escaped after kneeing him.
“I figured I would hit him where it hurts,” she said.
The woman ran back into the Walmart for help. An employee recognized the suspect’s description, allowing police to track down surveillance pictures of the man from inside the store from earlier that day.
“This is extremely concerning. This is a complete stranger, very bold, it was on a public sidewalk on a well-traveled street,” said Puyallup police Capt. Scott Engle.
That part of the street is right across from Bradley Lake Park, a place where children play and many usually feel safe.
“It makes me not want to go places at night or alone by myself; I am just always cautious,” said resident Lindy Turpin.
“Generally, the South Hill area is pretty safe so thinking someone is doing something like that is pretty eery,” said resident Chelsea Viseth.
Puyallup police say the woman did the right thing by fighting back.
“When you are out and about, always pay attention to your surroundings. The victim in this case did exactly the right thing; she was alert to her surroundings,” said Engle.
“I can’t let him do what he wanted to do. I don’t know what his intentions were,” the alleged victim said.