A 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in Newark on Tuesday night, the same day another teen was attacked on her way to school -- but investigators said there is no indication the cases are related, police said today.
The sexual assault victim was walking on Birch Street near Birch Grove Park when the attacker approached her from behind, covered her mouth with his hand and groped her over her clothes, police said. The victim broke free uninjured and ran to a nearby home.
Her attacker was last seen heading toward Birch Grove Park. Police were called shortly after 10 p.m. and used a helicopter and K-9 units to search the area, but were unable to locate the man.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his late 20s to early 30s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with a thick mustache and slicked-back hair. He was last seen wearing a blue sweatshirt or jacket with a soccer ball design on the left sleeve.
Police said they don't believe the assault was connected to an attempted abduction earlier that day. The two incidents occurred roughly 2 miles apart.
In the earlier case, a man grabbed a 15-year-old girl from behind as she walked near Parkshore and Edgewater drives on her way to Newark Memorial High School at about 6:40 a.m., said police.
The girl was knocked to the ground, but she kicked and screamed and was able to break free from the man, who then walked away down Parkshore Drive, police said.
The sound of the screams attracted the attention of a passing bicyclist. The bicyclist notified a motorist, who followed the suspect down Parkshore Drive until the suspect turned around and shot at the driver with a handgun, police said.
No one was hit by the bullets. The incident prompted a brief lockdown at Newark Unified School District schools that was lifted at about 9 a.m.
The suspect was last seen headed north on Parkshore Drive. He is described as a black man in his late teens to early 20s, 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a medium build. He had a goatee and stubble, and was wearing a black knit cap and black, baggy clothing.
Anyone with information on either case is asked to contact Sgt. Dave Parks at (510) 578-4247. Information can also be left on the "silent witness" hotline at (510) 578-4000, ext. 500.