Woman Sexually Assaulted In Manhattan Beach While Companion Forced To Lie In Sand

(FOX 11) Police said a woman was sexually assaulted on the beach early Sunday morning in Manhattan Beach, while her male companion was forced to lie face down in the sand as it occurred.

The assault was reported just after midnight Sunday at the 3400 block of the waterline, according to the Manhattan Beach Police Department. The couple, both in their 40s, was sitting on the beach listening to the waves when they were approached by a Hispanic male.

Police said the man "simulated the use of a handgun" to force the man to lie down in the sand as he sexually assaulted the woman.

The suspect then fled the scene on foot, heading southbound toward the pier, after stealing the male victim's cell phone. After the assault, the male victim ran to a home on the strand to call police.

Authorities searched the area for the suspect, but he was not located. The Hispanic male was described as 25 to 30-years-old, around 5 feet, 7 inches tall with a thin build and thin mustache, according to Manhattan Beach Sgt. Paul Ford with the detective bureau. The man was also wearing a hooded grey sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Ford said there is not a beach curfew, and police have increased patrols in the area, including late night on the beach. Officers were also going from home to home looking for any security video of the suspect.

Anybody with information is asked to call the Manhattan Beach Police Department at (310) 802-5140.

From Christine O' Donnell:

Surveillance video from a home that over looks the 3400 block of the waterline shows that the beach was busy during the time of the alleged assault, but no one seemed to see or hear what was happening to the couple.

In the video, you can make out the waves crashing on the shore, see people walking their dogs along the boardwalk, but it's too dark to see anyone on the beach. Locals say they can't believe it.

Jamie Bedner has lived in Manhattan Beach for years. She was walking along the boardwalk with her mother and sister who were visiting for Easter when she learned of the attack.

"I'm completely shocked. I've never heard of anything like this happening in Manhattan beach," Bedner said.

"I certainly wouldn't want anything like that to happen to my daughters or their spouses. It's terrible," Bedner's mother Arlene McCarthy said.

"What a violation,' Bedner's sister Julie Dougery said; "I hope they find him, for the community but also that couple. That's a hard thing to recover from."

Whether the suspect did or did not have a gun is not known at this time. Police say before he fled the scene he stole several personal items -- possibly cellphones -- from the couple.

Though, the surveillance video doesn't catch the attack, you can see police walking along the beach with a flashlight looking for evidence of the attack.

Lawrence Thomas tells FOX 11 he's lived along Manhattan Beach for more than a decade and has never head of something like this happening so close to home.

"A man and his wife or a man and his girlfriend out, enjoying themselves, and some sicko comes along and does something," Thomas said.

Thomas continues, "You'd like to think, I'm the guy, he wouldn't do that to me, but if you think your life's in peril you don't know what's going to happen. It's scary."

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