Lakewood man charged in robbery, sexual assault of fast-food employee

Pierce County prosecutors have charged a 24-year-old man in the robbery and sexual assault of a woman last year, an incident that at the time was believed to be connected to a series of robberies in which two men posing as cops targeted fast-food managers after they closed down their restaurants.

Samuel Oscar Gonzalez of Lakewood was arraigned this afternoon on three counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree robbery and first-degree criminal impersonation. He was ordered held in Pierce County Jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

Prosecutors noted in charging documents that local police were investigating a number of other robberies that are similar in nature to the Nov. 1 attack that Gonzalez was charged with Friday. Gonzalez could face additional charges, court documents note.

Tacoma police spokesman Mark Fulghum declined to comment on the charges Friday, noting that the investigation was still ongoing. Lakewood police Lt. Chris Lawler said Friday that his agency is working with Tacoma police in investigating a series of robberies last year. He declined to comment further because the investigation was continuing.

Court documents state DNA evidence from the sexual assault was tied to Gonzalez, who was convicted in federal court of simple assault in 2007 after he ejaculated on a woman trying to sleep aboard a flight from Seattle to Minnesota.

In the Nov. 1 attack, a woman and her boyfriend closed up a Lakewood fast-food restaurant and left in his car. He noticed a suspicious vehicle behind them as they drove on Interstate 5, charging documents state.

The boyfriend pulled into a parking lot in the 1900 block of East 56th Street. As the woman stepped outside the car, the suspicious vehicle pulled behind them.

The occupants turned on red-and-blue lights from the car's dash and one suspect used a public address system to order the woman back into the vehicle.

The boyfriend was ordered to get out of the car with his hands up. Two men were on either side of the suspicious vehicle, pointing guns at the boyfriend, charging documents state.

The suspects told the boyfriend to not look at them and to walk backwards toward them. They placed him into the trunk of his car and shut the lid, charging documents state.

One suspect had the woman put her cellphone on the driver's seat. He took money from her purse and demanded keys to the Wendy's store.

The suspect sexually assaulted the woman. He then drove the boyfriend's car a short distance, took the woman to a wooded area and sexually assaulted her again, charging documents state.

The suspect threatened to kill the woman if she told anyone what happened.

The attacker ran away.

The woman got her boyfriend out of the trunk. She went to Tacoma General Hospital for a sexual assault examination. DNA swabs were sent to a Texas lab for processing, court documents state.

The lab developed a DNA profile of the swabs and sent it to the Washington State Patrol crime lab. Last month, the state crime lab matched the profile to Gonzalez, charging documents state.

Officers served a warrant on his home Thursday. They found a blue baseball hate with "POLICE" write on it and three pairs of boxer underwear that matched what the suspect in the Nov. 1 attack wore.