Peninsula Kidnap, Sex Assault Suspect Arrested

Working together worked well this week for South Bay investigators hunting down a violent predator

By Lori Preuitt
|  Thursday, May 27, 2010  |  Updated 4:28 PM PDT
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Peninsula Kidnap, Sex Assault Suspect Arrested

Palo Alto Police

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A frightening weekend sexual assault and kidnapping case has been solved, according to Palo Alto police.

Santa Clara detectives arrested Lionel Banks Wednesday night near his home in Santa Clara.

Several agencies were involved in the investigation that began when a man forced his way into a woman's car while she was parked near Stanford University on El Camino Real early Saturday morning.

The two somehow drove to Santa Clara where police say Banks sexually assaulted the woman.

She flagged down a car early Saturday near Prunedale and San Tomas Expressway and asked them to call police.   Police say the victim could not see the suspect during their time together, but would not explain why.

Investigators say they worked around the clock for five days to process separate crime scenes and to run down multiple leads.  They specifically credited the Santa Clara County Crime Lab for providing "tremendous" assistance in identifying the suspect.

Blanks faces charges of kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery and attempted murder.

Investigators said, "We are pleased to note that the streets of this County are safer today because of the excellent teamwork by the dedicated officers and employees from this Department,  the Santa Clara Police Department,  the Stanford Department of Public Safety, the Santa Clara County Crime Lab, and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’ s Office."

NBC Bay Area researched Blanks criminal history.  He was arrested on a domestic violence charge, which involved endangering a child in 2001. The Mercury reported he also has a prior drunk driving charge.

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