A man broke into an 81-year-old woman’s Tacoma apartment and threatened to rape her at knifepoint before stealing her wallet and fleeing, court documents state.
He was identified days later by a police officer who recognized him from surveillance photos.
On Wednesday, Pierce County prosecutors charged the 27-year-old with two counts of attempted first-degree rape, first-degree burglary and attempted second-degree burglary.
Charging papers give this account:
The man and a friend drove to an apartment complex in the 1700 block of South 82nd Street about 8 a.m. Sunday. The passenger got out of the car, peeked in a bedroom window on the ground floor and then summoned the driver to come look.
Surveillance footage from a business across the street showed the driver return to the car and the passenger disappear. He returned to the car 15 minutes later.
In that time, police say he broke into the woman’s apartment while she was sleeping. He allegedly put a hand over her mouth and a large kitchen knife to the side of her face.
“The defendant then ripped open her shirt exposing her breasts and said that he was going to rape her and would kill her if she screamed,” prosecutors wrote in court documents.
He told the woman he’d been watching her for a week, then asked for money. He left after stealing her cell phone and wallet.
The woman ran for help to neighbors, who called 911.
Police got fingerprints from the window and photographs of the men from a surveillance camera. The photos were circulated among law enforcement officers in the area.
An officer recognized the man on the street two days later and took him into custody.
The driver of the car has not been identified.
The man charged in the attack also is accused of trying to break into a marijuana store three hours before the break-in at the 81-year-old woman’s apartment.
When he couldn’t open the door of the pot store, he allegedly threw a rock through a window before running away. He returned an hour later and threw another rock through the window, records state.