Women in Portland Urged to Be Vigilant After Assault, Reports of Suspicious Man

Since an alleged assault on Oct. 25, several women in Maine's most populous city have reported being followed by a man in a dark car while they were out walking

NBC Universal, Inc.

People in Portland, Maine's West End neighborhood are being urged by local police to watch out for a man who's allegedly attacked one woman and approached several others in what's become a pattern.

There have been seven reports of a man in a dark car with a Texas license plate pulling over near women on the streets and trying to talk to them in a suspicious way, according to Portland Police Lt. Robert Martin.

The incidents began Oct. 25 around 7 p.m. with the most violent of the encounters, police said.

In that incident, a woman was walking near 32 Thomas St. when the man stopped and offered her a ride. The woman refused, at which point the man got out of the car, assaulted the woman and according to witnesses, tried to pull the woman into the car but was unsuccessful, police said.

That is the only one of the incidents being investigated as a crime.

The rest of the incidents, like one that occurred later the same night, unfolded with the man asking for directions or trying to attempt to talk to various women.

"Later in the evening a second female called and said that as she was walking down Brackett Street, a man approached her in a similar car and similar appearance and tried to engage her in conversation," Martin said, adding that the woman "turned and walked away from him."

The latest sightings of the man happened a week ago, Dec. 7 at about 7 a.m., police said.

A woman was walking on Congress Street when police said a man pulled over and tried to talk to her. She left the area but saw the same car again at a different intersection nearby.

"This area is a wonderful area to live in but it's a city," said Mildred Bachrach, who lives right next to the intersection where the car was seen for the second time last Monday.

Bachrach said she was concerned about a young person or someone vulnerable in the neighborhood giving directions to the driver and getting abducted.

However, as for herself, she said she remains vigilant at all times because other unrelated incidents that could escalate happen in Portland all the time.

"Generally we have our cell phones on us, we walk on lighted streets, we don't go behind a building unless it's out building," Bachrach said.

Other Portlanders said they were taking much more strict precautions.

In an interview with NECN and NBC10 Boston affiliate NEWS CENTER Maine, Sarah Conley, who was out walking in the West End last week, said she knows "women in the West End are making sure we're done walking by 4 p.m. before dark."

Portland Police are advising people in the neighborhood to make sure they're walking in well-lit areas against traffic and are urging them to change directions while walking if they believe they are being followed.

According to Martin, the department believes it has "significant leads" on a suspect.

Contact Us