Man,19, Arrested On Suspicion Of Attempted Rape In Bellflower And Lakewood

posted by City News Service - 

BELLFLOWER (CNS) - A man sexually assaulted a woman in Bellflower, and hours later sexually assaulted a teenager while she was in a restroom at Lakewood High School, deputies said.

 Joshua Cooper, 19, was arrested late Saturday and was booked at the sheriff's Lakewood station on suspicion of assault with intent to commit rape, robbery and attempt rape. His bail was set at $220,000, the Sheriff's Information Bureau reported.

 Deputies believe Cooper approached a 29-year-old woman from behind about 10 a.m. Friday in the 9200 block of Palm Street in Bellflower, attacked her, sexually assaulted her and then took the victim's cell phone.

 About two and a half hours later, authorities believe he sexually assaulted a teenager while she was using a restroom at Lakewood High School, 4400 Briercrest Ave.

 The suspect fled the scene when a school employee entered the restroom, at about 12:30 p.m. Friday.

 Later, a sheriff's deputy saw surveillance tape recorded near one of the attacks, and later identified Cooper, according to Capt. Rick Harpham, at the sheriff's Lakewood station. Another captain, Carlos Marquez of the sheriff's Special Victims Bureau, said the suspect ``had some theft (arrests) in his background,” but would not elaborate.

 Cooper, a Bellflower resident, was arrested on a street there without incident at about 3:40 p.m. Saturday.

 Marquez said they would not release a photo of the suspect, saying that they were conducting follow up investigations and looking for any additional victims.

 As for security at the school, Harpham, who coached football at Lakewood High for about six years, said the high school is a “secure facility,” adding the Long Beach Police Department has a resource center on campus.

 The Sheriff's Information Bureau reported that Cooper was scheduled for court Wednesday at the Bellflower Courthouse.

 The sheriff's Special Victims Bureau asked anyone suspicious of other assaults to call them at (877) 710-5273.

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