Police investigate reported rape in SLC downtown parking garage

Posted at 9:28 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 16:12:03-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Police are looking for the man responsible for sexually assaulting a woman in a downtown Salt Lake City parking garage.

The assault took place around 11 p.m. Wednesday at the garage on 222 South Main Street.

According to police the victim had just finished eating dinner with friends, and was walking back to her car, alone, when the suspect grabbed her from behind.

People who park in that garage are now being extra cautious.

“I’m always looking around and I’m always on the phone with someone so in case something does happen they will hear me scream,” said Ashley Allen, who works downtown.

Allen said Wednesday’s assault at the 222 South Main Street parking garage hits her personally. She also parks in the garage, and often walks to her car, by herself, late at night, just like the victim in this case.

“There are many, many, many people who park in this garage, when I came in around three today it was completely full so I would love to have more security the garage is not always secure,” Allen said.

There are security guards on duty at the garage but they declined to speak with Fox 13.

Police say traveling in groups and paying attention to your surroundings are a couple of tips to staying safe.

“There are so many times when people when they actually get assaulted say they came out of nowhere and that is never the case they come from somewhere,” said Sgt. Robin Heiden with Salt Lake City Police.

The police also recommend carrying pepper spray and knowing how to use it. Allen has a hot pink bottle just in case.

“I never had to use it but I do have it on my key ring, easy to use, I’ve practiced but never had to use it on anybody,” Allen said.

We also met a couple who are thinking about avoiding the garage all together, at least until this suspect is caught.

“We thought maybe we shouldn’t come down here, or where are we going to park, where will we be safe,” said BJ Mendenhall, who was attending a show at the Capitol Theater with his wife.

Salt Lake City police said they are in the process of looking at surveillance video to see if they can get any more information on the suspect. They also said they located some evidence at the scene.

The victim was unable to get a good description of the suspect, but she described him as an older man, with a raspy voice, olive skin and no accent.

Anyone with information on the incident can call Salt lake City Police Department at 801-799-3000.