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Man tried to rape office cleaner at gunpoint — until she disarmed him, California cops say

Attempted rape at Irvine office building, surveillance video shows victim threatened at gunpoint

Surveillance video shows a man who pointed a gun at a woman working in an office building in Irvine, California on Feb. 6, 2019. The suspect later tried to rape the woman, who fought off the attacker and ran for help.
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Surveillance video shows a man who pointed a gun at a woman working in an office building in Irvine, California on Feb. 6, 2019. The suspect later tried to rape the woman, who fought off the attacker and ran for help.

A woman was cleaning during the overnight shift at an office in Southern California this week when a man walked in and launched a “very violent attack” caught on video, according to police.

The man showed up at the unlocked office building in Irvine around 1:20 a.m. on Wednesday and walked up to the cleaner, asking her in Spanish if she was alone, police said in a news release on Thursday.

The cleaner told him she was the only one there — and then he “made aggressive sexual comments to her and ordered her to have sex with him,” police said. He pushed the woman to another room in the office and “forcefully tried to undress her,” according to police.

The woman begged for her life for four minutes, all of it caught on video, as she fought off the attacker, police said. Finally, the woman managed to disarm the man, allowing her to get away and search for help in another building.

Police said the weapon — a replica Glock — was discovered at the office. The woman said the man also had a knife, according to police.

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Police released this still and a video of the man accused of trying to rape an office cleaner early Wednesday morning. Irvine Police Department

This was a very violent attack,” said Kim Mohr, a spokeswoman for the Irvine Police Department, according to KTLA. “Thankfully, it was all caught on video. So we can see in the video the suspect’s face very clearly. We can see him pull the weapon. And we’re looking to identify the suspect and bring him into custody.”

The one-minute video released by police shows the beginning of the attack: The woman is winding up an extension cord and wearing a vacuum on her back as the man walks into the office, which is filled with cubicles. The man is wearing a backpack, has his hood up and is holding a skateboard against his mid-section.

The two appear to speak for a moment, though there is no sound in the video police released. And then, as the woman is pushed against one of the cubicles, the man pulls out the replica gun, video shows. The woman pulls out her phone and then puts it back in a pocket, and lifts her hands to her face.

That’s where the video ends, though the attack went on longer.

The woman was injured in the attack, with bruises on her hands, breast and arms, as well as scratch marks on her face, according to police.

Police described the suspect as a thin man between 20 to 25 years old, about 5-foot-4-inches and 130 to 140 pounds. He was wearing glasses, a gray hoodie, a black knit cap and black pants, and had a “distinctive skateboard,” according to police.

Anyone who recognizes the man or who has other tips in the case can contact detective Haldor Larum at 949-724-7194, or send an email to hlarum@cityofirvine.org.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.

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