A 23-year-old suspect has been arrested for allegedly raping a woman in the ArcLight Theatres parking structure on May 1 after she became separated from a group of friends as they left a nightclub in Hollywood.
The suspect, Chris Cardoza, 23, a resident of Reseda, was taken into custody around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday at his unidentified workplace in the 8900 block of Wilshire Boulevard. Police would not specifically divulge what led them to Cardoza, but Det. Chris Merlo, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations West Bureau Sexual Assault Detail, said police had been reviewing surveillance camera footage from the parking structure, and that authorities had recovered the vehicle that was allegedly used in the sexual assault.
The incident occurred between 2 and 3 a.m., according to Merlo. Authorities originally thought the victim was raped by two men, but now believe Cardoza acted alone.
“It was a situation where the victim got separated and he took her and raped her,” Merlo said. “The suspect was with a group of two to five people, but we don’t think all five people committed the crime.”
Merlo said the victim is Hispanic, in her mid-20s, and is a resident of Los Angeles. After the suspect released the victim, she eventually located her friends, who called police. The victim was transported by paramedics to the hospital, where she was treated and released. Investigators with the sexual Assault Detail were summoned to the scene, and took over the investigation from personnel with the LAPD’s Hollywood Division.
Merlo said the victim had just left an unidentified nightclub near the ArcLight parking structure, located on Ivar Avenue just south of Sunset Boulevard. He said the garage is very crowded at that time of the morning on weekends, with people leaving venues throughout the area after the 2 a.m. closing time. Merlo added that there were security officers on duty at the time of the sexual assault.
“If you’re there around two in the morning, you will see hundreds of people walking to their cars. It is a large parking structure, and it can be easy to get separated,” Merlo added. “We think it was an isolated incident. We don’t have any indication that there are any other victims.”
Cardoza was booked for rape and is currently being held on $100,000 bail.
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