MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) -- The Mountain View Police Department has arrested Sergio Martinez, a 30-year-old homeless man, in connection with an attempted rape and a separate prowling incident nearby on Friday evening.
Investigators say the 29-year-old female victim was in Creekside Park at 9:43 p.m. listening to a podcast when Martinez approached her from behind, cupped her mouth, lifted her off the ground and tried to carry her away.
Katie Nelson, a police department spokesperson, said the woman "bravely" fought back.
"Instincts kicked in, she began kicking and screaming, which alerted a couple passersby in the area and he got spooked and ran off," said Nelson.
Nelson said officers searched the area extensively, but found nothing.
At 3 a.m., dispatchers received a call of a prowler lurking around apartments on the 200 block of Easy Street, who was peeping into windows. The prowling incident was on the same block as the attempted rape incident.
Officers responding to the scene noticed a man leaving the area that matched the description of the suspect from the attempted rape. Nelson says the victim and good Samaritans from the earlier incident provided a specific detail that allowed investigators to link the two crimes.
"There is one thing in particular that the victim absolutely picked up on, that when our officer detained Martinez for the prowling, that certainly helped. Our detectives are very confident that this is the same man," said Nelson.
Martinez was taken to police headquarters for questioning and was later arrested on charges of attempted rape, attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment and prowling.
Neighbor Candace Larson was surprised to hear of the attack and arrest and does not go to the park at night alone. She stays off the adjacent Stevens Creek Trail after dark.
"I still feel very safe in the neighborhood," said Larson. "You should not wear headphones. Should always be looking around you to see who's in front of you, who's behind you, those kind of things because it can happen really fast."
"Nothing against (the victim), she should absolutely feel able to walk in her neighborhood park any time and feel safe. But we always encourage people, not just when you're out at night, just in general, make sure that you are aware of your surroundings. If you can, have ear open to possibly hear what's going on around you," said Nelson.
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