Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Rapes, 1 Attempt in Only 2 Days; Attack Styles Unusual, Alarming

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

3 Rapes, 1 Attempt in Only 2 Days; Attack Styles Unusual, Alarming

Article excerpt

Byline: MATT COLEMAN

A rape attempt was foiled by Jacksonville police Thursday, but three other women were assaulted Tuesday and Wednesday in what authorities are calling a startling rash of sex crimes.

Lt. Annie Smith of the Sheriff's Office Sex Crimes Unit said this is an unusually high number of sexual assaults in such a short span of time. Police think the cases are unrelated, but Smith said that doesn't lessen the severity of the attacks.

"The majority of our cases don't involve strangers jumping out of the bushes and attacking people," she said. "We're working overtime to make sure we track down the people that committed these crimes."

Police arrested 50-year-old transient Stephen Eugene Wilson in the abduction, armed robbery and attempted rape of a 19-year-old woman Thursday. The woman was walking to her car about 4:30 p.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot on 13490 Beach Blvd. when a man forced her into the vehicle at knife-point. The arrest report said the man robbed the woman, exposed himself to her and tried to force her to perform sexual acts on him.

The victim almost escaped when she took a knife from her center console and held it to the man's throat. But he choked her and wrenched the knife from her grasp. She was able to honk the car horn in the ensuing struggle, alerting another driver to her situation.

The man tried to drive away at a high rate of speed but crashed at Glen Kernan Parkway and Hodges Boulevard, according to the arrest report.

Police detained Wilson when he attempted to flee on foot toward Sutton Park Drive. When police searched the suspect, they found he was wearing a purple bra under his shirt.

RAPISTS USED WEAPONS, THREATS

While that woman was able to escape, three others weren't so lucky.

A woman was walking home from the Food Lion on Beach Boulevard through a wooded area about 6 p.m. Tuesday when she was approached by two unknown men. One of the men put a knife to her throat, threw her to the ground and raped her, according to the police report. …

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