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Irvine police arrest man for allegedly assaulting woman in storage unit elevator

Irvine Police arrest man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in an elevator
Irvine Police arrest man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in an elevator 02:25

Authorities arrested a man wanted for sexual battery and physical assault in late June, after he assaulted a woman inside of an elevator at a storage unit in Irvine.

The initial incident occurred on June 25 at Extra Storage, located at 17 Shield, when a woman was waiting for an elevator. As the doors opened, two men exited, one of whom looked at the woman and followed her back into the elevator. 

"He just snapped and attacked me, went and pushed me against the elevator," said the victim. "Grabbed my sports bra, ripped it all the way off — my breasts fully exposed. He then latched on to both of my breasts... and wouldn't let them go."

According to Irvine Police Department's press release, the man "became fixated on her," and began to reach towards her chest, sexually battering the woman. As the woman pushed him away and told him to stop, the man "began to aggressively grab at her chest" before he punched her multiple times, causing visible injury. 

"As soon as I hit him he started wailing on me just windmill style, like a full-blown fist fight like you'd see a man get in with another man," the victim said.

She escaped from the elevator after it had reached the first floor. He ran to a moving truck parked nearby and fled from the scene. 

Investigators with IPD were able to locate the suspect, now identified as 26-year-old Los Angeles resident Rafael Cortez, and took him into custody. He was booked on felony sexual battery, assault and battery and false imprisonment. 

At the time of the assault, he was reportedly employed by a moving company that was at the storage unit. 

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