Residents are stunned after a teen girl was sexually assaulted along a popular bike path in suburban Beach Park this week, and multiple police agencies are pooling their resources to try to find the man responsible.
The Robert McClory Bike Path, located in Lake County, is where the girl was walking at approximately 7:30 p.m. Monday when police say a man came out of the tree line and began yelling at her.
“She continued her walk northbound, attempting to ignore the person,” Lake County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Christopher Covelli said. “The person then violently grabbed her by the neck, forced her to the ground, forcefully removed her clothes and sexually assaulted her.”
Police say a witness who lives nearby heard the girl screaming, and told her to run. She then called police, but the suspect escaped in a nearby vehicle.
The man was described as a “Black man in his early 20s, with metal barrettes in his hair,” according to a police spokesman.
Now, residents are left searching for answers, and calling for action, as the suspect in the case remains at large.
“It is very unnerving,” one resident said.
Jeff Troiola, another area residents, rides his bike or jogs on the trail every day, and says this isn’t the first incident he’s heard of. He says that police should put up security cameras along the trail to help deter crime.
“Probably like six months ago a similar thing happened, but she got away,” he said. “I’ve seen all sorts of crazy things on this trail. You see homes back up the entire length of this trail. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be safe.”
Detectives are searching for surveillance footage of the attacker, and are asking anyone with information to contact the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.