Whittier grocery store workers intervene in attempted rape

Staff at a South Whittier grocery store helped stop the attempted sexual assault of a teenage girl on Sunday, which led to the arrest of a 39-year-old man, authorities said.

The incident was reported at around 2:00 p.m. at a Stater Bros. store in the unincorporated community, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The suspect allegedly followed a 16-year-old girl into the store’s bathroom, locked the door and attempted to attack her.

The girl screamed, alerting other customers and employees, who made their way to the bathroom and held the suspect until officers arrived to arrest him.

The girl was treated for injuries in a hospital.

The suspect, identified by Los Angeles County Attorneys’ Office as Steven Magdaleno, 38, was charged Tuesday with assault for rape, false imprisonment by force and attempted escape from custody, and misdemeanor charges for providing false information to a police force had officer.

“It is appalling that someone attempted to sexually assault a 16-year-old girl in the middle of the day in a grocery store restroom,” Los Angeles County Dist said. atty said George Gascón in a press release. “Such brazen crimes are shocking to the entire community because the girl and her family should have felt safe in that space.”

Gascón commended the actions of employees and customers who showed bravery and courage.

“I want to encourage anyone who has been sexually assaulted to report these crimes and get the help they need to heal from this devastating trauma,” Gascón said.

The sheriff’s department asked the public for help in identifying possible additional victims of the suspect.

The department’s Special Victims Bureau can be reached at (877) 710-5273 or specialvictimsbureau@lasd.org.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-20/whittier-grocery-store-workers-intervene-in-attempted-rape Whittier grocery store workers intervene in attempted rape

Alley Einstein

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