In the days after a 21-year-old woman was dragged into an alley in downtown Annapolis and sexually assaulted almost three weeks ago, Annapolis police officers began going door to door in the neighborhood, asking local shop owners about their surveillance systems and whether they may have caught a suspicious man on camera.
At a store on Main Street, close to the alley off the 100 block of Duke of Gloucester St. where the assault occurred, they found what they were looking for.
Now, police are pushing for as many people as possible to view the footage they found, of a man police are calling a "person of interest" in the case running along Main Street around the time of the assault — which was about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, May 19.
"I'm hoping that if it's seen by enough people, that someone will know this person," said Detective Amy Miguez, a police spokeswoman.
The video has been posted on the police department's Facebook wall and shared with media, and solving the case — one involving a "very personal crime" that has been "very traumatic for the victim" — has become a top priority for the department, Miguez said.
While many sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows, this case appears to involve "a completely random targeting of the victim," Miguez said.
"That concerns us," the detective said. "When things like this happen, it's not going to be an isolated event, so we're just trying to do what we can to find out who may be involved before that happens."
On the night of the attack, the victim, a downtown resident, had eaten dinner with friends on West St. and then started walking home — from West St. to Church Circle to Duke of Gloucester St.
A man walking behind her suddenly grabbed her, dragged her into a nearby alley, threw her to the ground and sexually assaulted her, police said.
The woman was eventually able to fight off her attacker, and the man fled on foot, police said.
After returning home and speaking with a friend about what happened, the victim called police, Miguez said.
Officers then found evidence in the alley that corroborated the victim's account of the attack, Miguez said.
The surveillance footage — which Miguez described as "a really great video" with a "clear picture even for night time" — was released this week.
Miguez said the video has produced a few leads so far, but none have "panned out."
Anyone with information about the case or the man seen running in the video is asked to call Detective John Lee at 410-268-9000 x7253.