Sand Springs Joggers, Park-Goers More Vigilant After Attempted Rape
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - Sand Springs police need your help catching a man, who they say tried to rape a woman in broad daylight on a local running trail.
They say the woman fought back, but the search is still on for her attacker.
People who frequent the trail system say they hope the man gets caught, but it's not stopping them from using the trails and the nearby park.
The women we talked to, though, said they are changing their habits and being more aware of their surroundings as police continue their search for the suspect.
"You shouldn't have to worry. I always think it's such a wholesome neighborhood. The kids are on the skate park and there's all kinds of kids playing soccer," said Peggy Thornton.
But Sunday afternoon, police say a woman running down a trail was passed by a bicyclist.
The rider then waited for her at the corner of the trail, showed a gun in his waistband, and then led the runner into the woods. Police say the man tried to sexually assault her while holder her with a knife.
The woman fought back and got away with only minor injuries, possibly stabbing the suspect with his own knife.
"I actually ran that way last Friday," Thornton said. "I went all the way to 97, and I was scared. I looked at the bushes and I thought that's what could happen."
Thornton said she runs this stretch of the trail all the time, but the news of a rapist lurking on the trail has her jogging out in the open now.
"When you get down there it's pretty secluded, so I'm just not going to run down there," Thornton said. "My husband said, 'Don't run down there anymore.' I said, 'What if I get pepper spray?' He said, 'No.'"
Caysea Conner has lived in Sand Springs all her life. She said the threat of an attacker hasn't changed her mind about bringing her daughter out to the park.
"I can't believe something like that would happen like that in our town. I mean it's a small, safe town," Conner said. "I come to this park weekly with my daughter and, just because that happened, it's not going to change it. I will definitely keep my eye out for more suspicious people, but I've never seen anything like that."
Both moms want the same thing.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to figure out who it is and catch him," Thornton said.
"I hope they catch him. You know it shows an example that Sand Springs means business and we're a safe town. We look out for our neighbors," Conner said.
Police have given us an updated description of the suspect. They say the victim told investigators after the attack the man was in his late 40s to early 50s, and was wearing a white ball cap and sunglasses. He was also reported as having blond or gray hair and was wearing a blue shirt and cargo shorts.
The man was riding a bicycle.
If you have any information, call the Sand Springs Police Department at 918-245-8777.