UPDATE: Attempted Sexual Assault on the Iron Horse Trail in Walnut Creek (SUSPECT PHOTO)

January 12, 2018 15:45 pm · 69 comments

The East Bay Regional Parks District Police Department is investigating an attempted sexual assault on the Iron Horse Trail in Walnut Creek.

The following information is from the Walnut Creek Police Dept. and the East Bay Regional Park District Police Dept.::

On 01-11-18 at approximately 5:30 pm, an attempted sexual assault occurred on the Iron Horse Trail in the area of Newell Ave. and S. Broadway. Walnut Creek Police Department Officers responded and conducted a preliminary investigation and East Bay Regional Park District Police Department Officers arrived to assume primary investigative responsibility. Detectives from WCPD and the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department will work jointly to identify the suspect in this crime.

Please read below for the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department press release regarding the assault investigation:

On Thursday January 11th, 2018, at approximately 6:15 PM, the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department received a call from the Walnut Creek Police Department regarding an attempted sexual assault that occurred on the Iron Horse Trail just south of Newell Avenue in Walnut Creek. East Bay Regional Park District Police Department responded to the area and immediately began searching for the suspect along with WCPD. A police K9 was utilized but was unsuccessful in locating the assailant.

According to the adult female victim, about 5:30 PM, she was walking from the Broadway Plaza area when a black male adult approached her from behind and assaulted her. Based on the suspect’s actions and comments, it was clear he intended to sexually assault and/or physically harm the victim. The suspect then suddenly fled the area for an unknown reason, running northbound on S. Broadway. The victim was treated for nonlife-threatening injuries and the suspect should be considered possibly armed and dangerous.

SUSPECT DESCRIPTION

The suspect was described as a black male adult of thin build between the ages of 30-40 years old, with a black beard/unshaven, approximately 5’9, wearing a black beanie, black zip up sweatshirt, white t-shirt, dark jeans, and brown shoes with white tips.

At this time, the identity of the suspect is unknown, Investigators from East Bay Regional Park District Police Department and the Walnut Creek Police Department would like the public’s help identifying a person of interest in this attached photograph.

This is an active investigation and anyone who may have any information regarding this incident is urged to contact the East Bay Regional Park District Police Department’s Tip Line at 510-690-6521.

UPDATE: The suspect has been arrested.

The following information and photo is from the East Bay Regional Parks District Police Dept.:

On 01/13/2018, at approximately 1245 hours, Walnut Creek Police Department Public Services Officer Miranda was conducting routine duties, when he was in the area of the Safeway located on South Broadway and Mt. Diablo Blvd. PSO Miranda had prior knowledge of this case, and the description of the suspect prior to going on duty on this date. PSO Miranda observed what he believed was the suspect in this case loitering in the front of the Safeway store. Miranda immediately called in to Dispatch, at which time WCPD Officer Bertolozzi arrived and detained the suspect. The suspect was identified as 35 year old Jeremy MICKENS out of San Francisco via a records checks. MICKENS was then positively identified by the victim as the suspect in this case. WCPD and EBRPD Investigations Units worked together seamlessly with their investigations, and MICKENS was subsequently arrested and booked on multiple felony charges surrounding this case.

Kentucky Derby January 12, 2018 at 4:03 PM

Trails are too isolated – for men and women. Why risk physical or sexual assault? I hope she’s okay.

Chicken Little January 12, 2018 at 5:28 PM

Now you’re going to blame the victim for walking on the trail? You’re really a piece of, um, work.

Shadowfax January 12, 2018 at 8:14 PM

People who love Nature, hike and trails are usually softer for runners than on city streets. Apparently we also need better security on them and I hope while we are all talking about this, we notice the photo and find out who this person is. They will likely try elsewhere. How did the victim get this photo? Maybe cameras in vicinity. This person obviously feels there is not enough security there to deter him, or he is ill and would attack any isolated person, anywhere.

TRIPPIN' January 15, 2018 at 8:10 AM

I’m done walking anywhere alone – in nature, which I love and frequent, or anywhere else. Sadly, it’s just not wise.

Nutcreek Frontier January 12, 2018 at 4:25 PM

Umm, let’s not blame the victim here…that is a very traveled area by Kaiser and Las Lomas High, so glad WCPD are being very pro-active on catching this dangerous rapist. Pretty clear photo and distinctive look, someone should recognize him.

Kentucky Derby January 12, 2018 at 5:34 PM

Sexual assault is very common on trails. Just because it’s very traveled doesn’t make it safe. Wise up. I used trails myself when I was younger (never alone). I’m glad I stopped using them.

Using a trail is not worth it. Anything you do on a trail (walking, jogging, riding a bike, etc.) you can easily do elsewhere with less risk.

Some people are more cautious than others. It keeps me from being victimized.

KingOfC January 12, 2018 at 4:27 PM

Take him down James Brown!!

Mr pink January 12, 2018 at 4:38 PM

Nothing wronh with jogging with a handgun. Oh that’s right
.It’s against the law.

Joe Parsons January 12, 2018 at 5:56 PM

No, it’s not. It’s perfectly legal for a duly licensed adult to carry a handgun.

Steven Roberts January 12, 2018 at 6:53 PM

Or a Tazer gun

Yves harlowe January 12, 2018 at 7:16 PM

Good luck getting a concealed carry permit.

Marmalade January 12, 2018 at 5:04 PM

I wouldn’t recommend anyone walking alone on any trail anywhere, and if you do carry a weapon with you and know how to use it effectively against anything threatening. I had a walking partner for years and they never understood why I always had my gun with me, until one afternoon we needed it and used it. It was a charging large animal hell-bent on doing us harm. Took 2 chest shots from .357 to slow it down enough to head shot 3rd round to kill it. This was on Shell Ridge trail.

Be prepared people any time you are out. I believe in people being armed anytime they want to be without needing a permit.

KingOfC January 12, 2018 at 5:25 PM

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only who thinks you come on here and sell wolf tickets

Shadowfax January 12, 2018 at 8:08 PM

A large animal. You can’t be more descriptive?
Most large animals won’t attack when two people are on a trail together unless one is trailing behind and that’s usually by an inexperienced young lion. A tazer in the face would be enough to deter at close rangeor or shooting into the air, but I really wish you hadn’t shot that large cow.

Reason January 12, 2018 at 5:25 PM

Trails are safe. People get sexually assaulted on streets and trains too. Protect yourself by being aware of your surroundings.

Kentucky Derby January 12, 2018 at 5:41 PM

Trails aren’t safe. Granted, anything can happen anywhere. But isolated areas (like trails) are where men easily target women for sexual assault. I’m very aware of my surroundings., but I choose not to put myself in vulnerable positions. It should be against anyone’s better judgment – male or female.

Dawg January 12, 2018 at 10:34 PM

2003, Kathleen Aiello-Loreck was raped and murdered while walking on the Contra Costa Canal Trail off of Cowell Rd. during her lunch break while talking to her husband on her phone. Her husband heard her gasp and the phone went dead.
Robert Frazier was convicted and is on death row.

Chicken Little January 13, 2018 at 5:54 AM

Some of us choose to live our lives, rather than spending them hiding under the bed where it’s “safe”.

Chicken Little January 13, 2018 at 8:33 AM

Sexual assault is common in elevators and stairwells, too. Better stick to single-story buildings from now on.

Marmalade January 12, 2018 at 5:32 PM

Lol it wasn’t a wolf…it was a crazed dog.

Voice of reason January 12, 2018 at 6:33 PM

Could this guy be the same guy talking to the WCI kids the other day??

rich January 12, 2018 at 6:50 PM

Kentucky, Given the lack commitment by cities for protected Bike Lanes the trails are a hell of a lot safer than on the roads riding a bike.

dealwithit January 12, 2018 at 7:02 PM

rich is on point and not only that but I see people around todos santos jogging on the sidewalk breathing in all that smog from traffic and I think those people are not very bright. Id rather jog or ride my bike on the trails. They should just put cameras up along the trails and lights.

Vandy January 12, 2018 at 7:10 PM

Its absurd to blame this on the trail! We need more trails and better access to them. This would encourage more activities such as walking, running, and biking. The trails are beautiful and have less interaction with dangerous, smelly vehicle traffic. Everyone who uses the trail should be wary but not afraid. The more people who use the trail the safer it will become. And there will be more need for more trails.

rich January 12, 2018 at 7:47 PM

Here’s the Ride on the IIron Horse Trail Ygnacio Valley Rd Walnut Creek to Rudgear Rd Walnut Creek. The incident area was near the end of the video.
http://youtu.be/plLh7eCiTe8

Barbie Girl January 12, 2018 at 7:56 PM

Ever since that woman was attacked and killed on the Concord walking trail in 2004, I’ve been very wary of walking alone on the trails. They’re very deserted even in the daytime. There are three sexual deviants that live along that Walnut Creek bike trail, one is a convicted rapist according to the Megans Law website.

Suzanna January 12, 2018 at 10:37 PM

Sadly, they’re everywhere. 🙁 We just have to stay alert and on guard no matter where we are.

concord ygnacio January 12, 2018 at 8:03 PM

LOL! He ws wearing a beanie? Welcome back to the 1950’s!

Suzanna January 12, 2018 at 8:18 PM

Ladies, please get some Self Defense training and equip yourselves with personal protection. Pepper spray, stun guns, kubotans—all legal for self defense. Please, be safe! Husbands, fathers, brothers… please encourage the women in your life to arm up.

Pretty in Pink January 12, 2018 at 9:56 PM

Pink stun guns seem a lot more useful than pink hats.

Yves harlowe January 13, 2018 at 8:05 AM

I prefer a .40 caliber, but unfortunately it is practically impossible to get a concealed carry permit in this county. I do have a stun gun, though.

Anonymous January 12, 2018 at 8:24 PM

OK Marmelade we know you have a gun.

Non Native January 12, 2018 at 8:34 PM

Why does this surprise anyone? Years of liberal rule have made crime a non issue to the community. Protect perverts, illegal aliens and criminals. Only hard working citizens can fear the government. If you commit crime, it is no longer a problem to the state. Thank the sheeple voters who continue to vote for bleeding heart political candidates. The ones who disarm us and make weed legal.

Tim January 12, 2018 at 9:01 PM

This guy will be caught if he isn’t already!

Be kind January 12, 2018 at 9:03 PM

I have never had a problem riding my bike 🚲 for years! I do not go on the trails after dark! This incident occurred during the night! It get’s dark early!

Badge1104 January 12, 2018 at 9:13 PM

Walnut Creek has alot more scary people in it in the last 2 or so years.

Gitittogether January 12, 2018 at 9:34 PM

Criminals prey on (who they think are) weak targets, regardless of location. The trails are a treasure and if decent, law-abiding people (who are the overwhelming users of the trails) stop using them, then there will be no reason to keep them open…most of us will not let that happen.

RSD January 12, 2018 at 9:39 PM

Kentucky Derby, you’re pretty smart….

MeCrazyWoman January 12, 2018 at 9:47 PM

My heart goes out to the victim. Hope she is okay. I will be more cautious but will not stop using the trails. I’ve had so many wonderful peaceful and happy walks and bike rides on the trails. So sorry she was a victim and hope one day feel safe again

Willy January 12, 2018 at 10:35 PM

So we can carry a gun for self protection, but if it’s used to protect yourself you go to jail. If we don’t carry it we can get seriously injured or worst. The sheriff will not give us a CCW permit. Where does this leave us? I guess one needs to carry a large can of mace on their belt or a large open carry knife. I’m sure a big knife in a sheath won’t bother other people on the trail… Yeah.

Marmalade January 13, 2018 at 7:37 AM

You can easily get a CCW permit in counties outide metropolitan area like any Sierra county such as Placer , Nevada, Amador Butte etc. First thing we did when we got a vacation property in Nevada county was get CCWs. Or become a “roommate” of someone in relaxed ccw county and get one.

Chicken Little January 13, 2018 at 3:04 PM

Did you mention that you smoke weed when you got your permit? How about when buying a gun? Did you lie on your 4473 form when asked if you use any illegal drugs? If you did, that’s a felony.

concord ygnaio January 13, 2018 at 3:54 PM

Marmalade: having vacation property is Nevada County does not make you a resident of that county. You are carrying illegally.

fedUp January 12, 2018 at 11:27 PM

Sure he’s probably bailed via Walnut Creek BART; looks like one of the regular night residents.

Hmmmm January 12, 2018 at 11:31 PM

Why even have a video camera if that’s the quality it produces?

No one can tell who that is.

WC resident January 13, 2018 at 12:10 AM

It’s a highly zoomed in image from a camera that captured everything in the area. In the future I’m sure normal security cameras will zoom in on each face, take photos, and feed them into recognition systems. The cameras will continue to track all subjects in the area. Real-ID drivers licenses also feed into a face-recognition system.

TRIPPIN' January 15, 2018 at 8:21 AM

That with the victim’s description was enough to apprehend the dirtbag. And I don’t care what anyone says about liberals allowing criminals free reign: that’s garbage. Anyone who thinks this scum won’t do serious time is a moron.

ClaireB January 13, 2018 at 5:36 AM

I use the trails (with precaution) all the time in the evening and will continue to do so. The probability of getting attacked on the trails is much lower than the probability of getting hit by a motorist on the streets.

Hill January 14, 2018 at 9:08 AM

Or car jacked going to your car, or getting robbed at an ATM, or a break in while you are home. A lot of bad things happen in daliy life. Been running that trail for over 15 years, a lot of times 4am, of course there are dangers in that. But im carfull , and do things that don’t make me an easy target. Has anything bad happens, no could it happen , yes. But I refuse to live my life under fear when the chance is so low.

just sayin January 13, 2018 at 6:24 AM

Male or Female

Please don’t jog alone when it’s dark; it’s dangerous. Even during the day, always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Stay focused and tuned in to what’s going on around you, not what your listening too. Be safe.

Example: N Concord BART evening time, it was during the summer, and everyone is walking to their car. Myself, female, and and older go off in the same direction. The woman is about 10 feet ahead of me wearing headphones and I’m on the phone talking to a friend in a normal tone. I start walking closer to the woman thinking she doesn’t even hear me. I end the conversation with my friend but continue to talk loud and she still had no clue that at this time, I was only a few feet behind her. Her car was parked next to me. I told her what I did and told her that she was risky her safety. She was startled and thanked me for a good lesson she just learned.

Concord Res January 13, 2018 at 7:20 AM

I wish East Bay Regional parks would patrol this trail we walk it everyday and I have never seen anyone from East Bay regional parks but we have seen a lot of shady people coming out of the bushes along the edge of the trail.

WC resident January 13, 2018 at 1:28 PM

If you regularly spot shady people in an area then let the local PD or sheriff know about them. While the trail itself is EBRPD jurisdiction as you noted, the EBRPD patrols are rare to non-existent. The shady people have to exit the trail zone at times and are then in someone elses jurisdiction. Most of them like to know where their regular “customers” are hanging out.

I can confirm that Concord PD, WCPD, and CC Sheriff can and will respond to incidents on the trail. They all have keys to the gates. I assume PHPD officers also carry keys but have never needed to call them about an incident on the trail itself.

Chicken Little January 13, 2018 at 3:07 PM

EBRPD Police will also respond if you call them at (510)881-1121. Unfortunately, though, they cover a lot of area and may not be close by when you call, so it might take a while.

MB January 13, 2018 at 1:01 PM

What they don’t say about the victim is that she was walking to her car after working at Whole Foods. The store makes employees park up the hill on Newell near those apartments, the street is dark and the trail crosses the sidewalk. She was NOT walking on the trail just trying to get to her car! Nice job Whole Foods sounds like you’re very concerned about your employees
safety!

SD January 13, 2018 at 1:47 PM

You’re COMPLETELY wrong. She doesn’t work at Whole Foods and wasn’t walking on newell when attacked!!! Get your facts straight before answering

Nice try at blaming Whole Foods

WC resident January 13, 2018 at 2:04 PM

Kentucky Derby claims “Sexual assault is very common on trails.”

Do you have a source for that? Assaults on the trails are so rare that it’s a news story when it happens.

I looked at https://www.crimereports.com/ and don’t see any crimes against people on the trails.

Kentucky Derby January 13, 2018 at 2:45 PM

WC Resident – The source I’m referring to would be the CDC (Center for Disease Control) while away at college (a long time ago). Most rapes go UNREPORTED. Sadly, as a woman I understand why. I will never forget the things I learned, and how to protect myself.

WC resident January 13, 2018 at 9:25 PM

I can’t find anything on the CDC web site that seems relevant to trail safety other than this page which has

We found that one of the primary reasons women and girls left their shelters at night was to use latrines. In focus group discussions, women identified the latrines and the paths leading to the latrines as areas where they felt the least safe. Women and girls spokes about men hanging around the latrines and nearby paths. They described lack of proper lighting in the area. … Woman and girls who must walk into isolated areas to bathe, go to the bathroom, or get water are vulnerable to rape and other violent acts.

The solution was to hand out solar powered flashlights. These were quite well received.

As rapes and sexual assaults of of girls and women were by intimate partners (51.1%), family members (12.5%), acquaintances (40.8%) the CDC’s focus is structuring the relationships to reduce the risks. The Prevention Strategies page has sections on Safe Dates, Shifting Boundaries, and RealConsent. I could not find anything on the web site about reducing the risk of assault by strangers (13.8%).

The trails in the area do not seem any more dangerous than parking lots and public sidewalks. I did a bike ride on Saturday afternoon and observed hundreds of women enjoying the Iron Horse and Contra Costa canal trails. The Walnut Creek police department and other agencies have not put up signs indicating that the trails are dangerous. If they were patrols on the trail they were not in uniform. WCPD has at least one uniformed officer who sometimes patrols on bicycle. In my years of riding on the trails in WC I’ve only seen him once on the trail itself. WCPD officers take motorcycles on the trails though each time I’ve seen that it seems they were out looking for a specific subject.

I have seen EBRPD police on the trails but it’s been extremely rare. They used full size cars and trucks which use up nearly the entire width of the trail rather than motorcycles

Kentucky Derby January 13, 2018 at 10:44 PM

With all due respect, you’re a MAN and I’m a WOMAN. I don’t expect you to be able to relate to the fear of sexual assault any more than I can relate to erectile dysfunction.

You’re no dummy. I shouldn’t have to explain this to you.

Have a great evening.

WC resident January 15, 2018 at 12:34 PM

I agree agreed on the gender and the issues each faces. I disagree on the claims that the trails are too isolated, that sexual assault is very common on trails, etc. That’s fear mongering that also makes the trails less safe.

Statement such as “sexual assault is very common on trails” are both false and not helpful as they are not specific enough to take action other than avoiding trails which causes them to become more isolated. The goal is to have more people using the trails while also preventing rats from setting up nests.

The relative isolation of trails compared to Sun Valley mall’s parking lot for example also works to the disadvantage of a potential attacker. It’s easy for a parking lot attacker to run off and quickly blend in with the hoodie rats at the mall. Rats in the trail area get noticed and discover there’s no safe place to hide.

If you see a suspicious circumstance then report it but also be as specific as possible. For example, “Three shady characters (two white male adult and one possible white female adult) were spotted Friday afternoon around 3pm in the bushes on the north side of the canal trail between X street and Y street.” A report does not need to be to law enforcement. http://www.ebparks.org/contact, ccwater.com, Nextdoor.com, claycord.com, etc. can be used for reporting. Citizens and cops will start beating around those bushes. EBRPD or the property owner may get called to have them trimmed or cut to provide for less cover. That’s how to keep a neighborhood and its trails safe. Dirtbags do not like the extra attention they get from citizens and cops and so move to areas where they blend in better.

Kentucky Derby January 15, 2018 at 12:42 PM

We can agree to disagree.

Chicken Little January 15, 2018 at 2:23 PM

WC Resident,
Just FYI, EBRPD actually has quite a few motorcycles, both street and off-road.

WC resident January 17, 2018 at 10:23 AM

Thank you Chicken Little. That’s good to know. While I have their 510-881-1121 number as part of the speed dial set on my phone for local agencies I’d never used it as local PD and sheriff patrols are far more common and visible. I’d always assumed it would take several hours up to a day or so for EBRPD to show up. I’ve contacted EBRPD at times via e-mail about non-urgent issues such as graffiti and moderate hazards. They are always very responsive, even on weekends and holidays.

Tim January 13, 2018 at 8:31 PM

Told you he would get caught.

Marmalade January 13, 2018 at 9:12 PM

WCPD arrested the guy today and victim positively ID’d him.

***UPDATE ON ATTEMPTED SEXUAL ASSAULT SUSPECT***
***SUBJECT IN CUSTODY***
On 01/13/2018, at approximately 1245 hours, Walnut Creek Police Department Public Services Officer Miranda was conducting routine duties, when he was in the area of the Safeway located on South Broadway and Mt. Diablo Blvd. PSO Miranda had prior knowledge of this case, and the description of the suspect prior to going on duty on this date. PSO Miranda observed what he believed was the suspect in this case loitering in the front of the Safeway store. Miranda immediately called in to Dispatch, at which time WCPD Officer Bertolozzi arrived and detained the suspect. The suspect was identified as 35 year old Jeremy MICKENS out of San Francisco via a records checks. MICKENS was then positively identified by the victim as the suspect in this case. WCPD and EBRPD Investigations Units worked together seamlessly with their investigations, and MICKENS was subsequently arrested and booked on multiple felony charges surrounding this case.

Kentucky Derby January 13, 2018 at 10:45 PM

I’m glad he was arrested.

Robert Christensen January 14, 2018 at 8:31 AM

Good job PSO Miranda and officer Bertolozzi.

TIFOKCIS January 14, 2018 at 10:04 AM

The victim in this disgusting event is very brave.

Kudos!

Chhristine January 16, 2018 at 8:56 AM

Great job WCPD & EBRPD.
Thank You officer Miranda!

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