A 27-year-old man who police believe is homeless was arrested on Feb. 17 and charged with multiple felony counts in connection with two sexual assaults that occurred on Feb. 15 in the Melrose area and West Hollywood.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged defendant Gabriel Hodges, a native of New York, with one count of aggravated kidnaping, one count of assault to commit rape and one count of sexual assault during a residential burglary. He is being held on $2.1 million bail.
Police released security camera photographs of the suspect following the assaults and the images were widely broadcast by the media. On Feb. 17, a librarian at the Los Angeles Central Library recognized Hodges and alerted security, who called police. LAPD spokeswoman Meghan Aguilar said Hodges was arrested at approximately 1:30 p.m. in the library, which is located at 630 W. Fifth Street, in downtown Los Angeles.
The first sexual assault attributed to Hodges occurred at approximately 12:30 p.m. in the 800 block of North Vista Street, followed by the second assault approximately 15-20 minutes later in the 7600 block of Hampton Avenue in West Hollywood.
Police allege Hodges approached a female victim walking alone on Vista Street, grabbed her around her neck and forced her to walk down a driveway to a secluded area next to a house. The victim broke free, ran to the street and flagged down a good Samaritan, who drove the victim to the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, said Detective Brent Hopkins, with the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Bureau Sexual Assault Detail.
During the West Hollywood assault, Hodges allegedly approached a victim outside her apartment on Hampton Avenue and pushed her inside. The victim screamed and the suspect ran out, said Lt. Bill Moulder, with the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.
Hopkins said law enforcement officials devoted a significant amount of resources to search for the suspect, including detectives assigned to other units and undercover officers. Police also credited residents’ security cameras in the neighborhoods where the assaults occurred for helping authorities identify and arrest the alleged perpetrator.
“Thank goodness this is a tight-knit community who looks out for its neighbors,” said Deputy Chief Blake Chow, commanding officer of the LAPD’s Operations-West Bureau. “They were our eyes and ears on every block and they didn’t rest until we had what we needed to catch a very dangerous man.”
Hodges is being held in Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department custody pending further court proceedings on March 10.
Anyone with further information about the crimes is urged to call the LAPD’s West Bureau Sexual Assault Detail at (213)473-0447, and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station’s Detective Bureau at (310)855-8850.
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