Monday, July 8, 2013

Shoppers express concern over attack at Westfield Topanga

Taken from:


Los Angeles police continued searching Tuesday for a man who last week allegedly kidnapped a 19-year-old woman at knifepoint in the parking lot of Westfield Topanga mall.
The man sexually assaulted the woman, used her ATM card and robbed her while also forcing her to take him on a three-hour car ride around the San Fernando Valley as well as into Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles, according to a police news release.

For some mall shoppers, news of the July 4 attack came as a sobering surprise.
"It doesn't feel safe that something like that would happen in an area like this -- it's just horrible. That poor woman," said Emily Austin, a Woodland Hills resident.
"It's just not something that you would hear about over here."
The victim, a mall employee, was leaving work about 5:30 p.m. July 4 when the man confronted her in the parking lot, police said.
They went to "quite a few different locations," LAPD Detective Danetta Menifee said.
Police released a surveillance photo of the man and are receiving tips from the public.
The victim, who was never hospitalized, is trying to remember the incident and help police track down the suspect, Menifee said.
Some mall employees on Tuesday were unaware of the crime, despite media attention it has received. Belvis Appleby, who works at the mall's Macy's, said she has not received any communication from the mall's management about the crime.
"It's very weird. The security is always around. All the time, I can see them driving around," Appleby said.
"Next time, I'll be more aware of what's around me. But I always generally feel safe around here though."
Shopper Xerxes Dubash wondered if more could have been done to prevent the incident.
"I always feel very, very safe here -- it's lit good and in a good area," said Dubash, who added that he eats lunch at the mall almost every workday.
"But there does seem to be a lack of mall security, and it never really dawned on me until now."
Westfield Topanga officials refused to answer questions about the investigation.
LAPD officials described the suspect as black, physically fit, in his early 20s, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8-inches tall and weighing from 140 to 160 pounds.
The department's Special Assault Section, which is investigating the case, has asked anyone with information or tips to call 877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).
Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or text a message to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads).
Text messages should begin with the letters "LAPD."
Tipsters can also visit LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.
Tips may also be emailed to rhd-sas@lapd.lacity.org.

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