Man wanted for assaulting two women in Hollywood area in custody

A man – believed to be homeless – who was wanted for the assault of two women in the Hollywood area is now in custody. 

Both attacks happened within an hour of each other on February 15. The first assault happened around 1 p.m. in the 800 block of N. Vista Street and the second on the 7600 block of Hampton Ave.

Security cameras show the man with his arm around the woman’s neck. He leads her onto a property and into an open garage. Seconds later, she was able to escape and run for help. 

Then half an hour later, police say he tried to assault another woman on Hampton Ave, less than a mile away in West Hollywood.

Officials say he pushed the woman into her apartment. She screamed for help and the suspect fled the area.  

On Thursday, February 17, FOX 11 was told the suspect was arrested in downtown Los Angeles after a library employee recognized the man and called police. LAPD placed the man in custody, FOX 11 was told Thursday afternoon.

Ana Benko lives on the same block of Vista Avenue where the attempted assault occurred and is the board president of Melrose Action Network.

"We walk with whistles now, even in daytime. This was not like this before, I’ve lived here for 46-years," said Benko.  

Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.

"It’s really terrifying, it’s west Hollywood, it feels like a pretty safe area to be in. but it goes to show that there are a lot of brazen people out there who don’t really care," said West Hollywood resident Katie Kaplan.

The two incidents occurred less than a mile apart, but in two police jurisdiction. 

RELATED: Woman stabbed outside a Foot Locker in Fairfax, reportedly over shoe release event

In the wake of the recent attacks, LASD is reminding the public to walk/run in pairs, have your head up, and be aware of your surroundings.

The fact that the suspect is described as a transient doesn’t surprise neighbors, who’ve watched as empty houses are taken over by squatters.

Anyone with information on either case is urged to contact West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at (310) 855-8850. You can also call the Los Angeles Police Department West Bureau Special Assaults at (213) 473-0447.  

Tune in to FOX 11 Los Angeles for the latest Southern California news.