MATTHEWS, NC – The Matthews Police Department is looking for a suspect after receiving reports of a sexual assault on Crestdale Heritage Trail.
Police say the incident happened around 4 a.m. on Sunday.
The victim told police that a stranger approached her as he was walking on the trail and assaulted her before leaving the scene.
The suspect is described as a 6ft tall white male with an athletic build and black hair.
Police said they plan to step up security measures in the area, including random and targeted patrols.
Residents of the area with security surveillance systems are advised to check their footage for anything suspicious from 12 p.m. Sunday morning.
Neighbors who live near the footpath told Channel 9 they were stunned to learn of the alleged attack.
“It makes me feel in danger as a young woman. I just live with my little brother, and you know, it makes me uncomfortable that it’s right outside my door. I don’t know any more details, but it’s concerning,’ said resident Paige Goodwin.
“We’ve never had any problems. It’s always pretty quiet. This is the first time I’ve heard of anything like this,” resident Pete Goodwin said. Goodwin said he lives in the region for more than 51 years.
Ronald Pritchard said he hikes this trail almost every day. He said an officer from Matthews knocked on his door Sunday morning to tell him about the incident.
“He asked, ‘Did you hear anything or see anything last night?’ And I say, ‘No, I didn’t hear anything and my neighbors have cameras here, but he (looked) on his phone and didn’t see anything,’ Pritchard said.
This is the second time a woman has been assaulted while walking or running on a trail. The first assault took place near the McAlpine Creek Greenway in east Charlotte on Wednesday morning.
(WATCH BELOW: Amid reported sexual assaults on the Green Lane, the organization wants survivors to know there is help)
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