19-year-old man arrested on suspicion of 2 sexual assaults – at Lakewood High School and in Bellflower
A man wanted in two separate sexual assaults on Friday – one at Lakewood High School and another in Bellflower – was arrested Saturday afternoon after investigators identified him using surveillance footage, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
The first incident occurred August 31 at about 10:00 am, on the 9200 block of Palm Street in the city of Bellflower. A 29-year-old woman was walking home when the suspect approached her from behind. He allegedly attacked her, sexually assaulted her and took her cell phone, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Carlos Marquez. A nearby resident came out of their house and scared the attacker away, Marquez said.
About 90 minutes later, the suspect scaled a fence to gain access to Lakewood High School, according to Marquez. There, the man attempted to sexually assault a 14-year-old girl who was using the restroom, authorities said, but fled the scene when a school employee entered the bathroom.
“It is concerning that he did it all within an hour and a half,” Marquez said at a news conference. “Hopefully we have put this to an end.”
Surveillance footage helped deputies track down and arrest a suspect at about 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, officials said.
Investigators identified Joshua Cooper, 19, of Bellflower as the person in the video, said Sheriff’s spokewoman Deputy Wally Bracks.
Cooper was booked on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape, robbery and attempted rape, and his bail was set at $220,000. He is scheduled to appear in court in Bellflower on Wednesday, Sept. 5.
Authorities said they believe he might have been involved in other crimes and have not released his photo.
Anyone with information about the assaults should contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Special Victims Bureau’s toll free tip line at (877) 710-5273 or by email at email@example.com.
To provide information anonymously, you can call “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or download the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP or “P3 Mobile” for the hearing impaired on Google play or the App Store, or at http://lacrimestoppers.org.