A teenage girl was out jogging on a south Charlotte greenway when police say a stranger exposed himself and sexually assaulted her. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is still looking for the suspect.
It’s the second time a woman has been assaulted on the McAlpine Creek Greenway in the last three weeks. The most recent case happened shortly after 9:30 a.m. Friday near Elm Lane — about 1.5 miles down the greenway from where the other assault happened near Johnston Road on July 22.
A 15-year-old girl told police that she was jogging on the greenway Friday when a man approached her and exposed himself. Police said the man then touched the victim inappropriately.
There was a heavy presence for several hours afterward as police searched for the person who did it.
Authorities said they have a vague description of the suspect and are actively searching for him. The man was wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt and grey sweatpants, according to police.
Channel 9′s Madison Carter asked police if the suspect in both cases could be the same person, but investigators weren’t able to say whether they know the identity of the person they are looking for or whether it’s the same person.
What we do know is that at this point, there have been a half dozen assaults on the McAlpine Creek Greenway since last year and not one suspect has been caught.
“Last time I was here there was a lot of police presence,” Karen Love said. “I thought ‘isn’t that nice they’re patrolling?’ but they said someone had just been assaulted.”
Love lives in the area and said she’s seeing that scene too much.
“In the middle of the day this is happening! What is with all this crime?” she asked.
CMPD and Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Department have increased their presence on McAlpine Creek Greenway. Last year, we learned there are nearly four dozen unarmed rangers patrolling the 63 miles of greenway in Mecklenburg County.
Some joggers have told Channel 9 they want to see things like call boxes or lights. Last year, Mecklenburg County’s Park and Recreation Director W. Lee Jones told Channel 9 they’d be hard to add.
Meantime, CMPD promised to step up their patrols after the last assault in June, and people say they’ve noticed.
“I like seeing the police presence, I really do. It makes me feel safer,” said Courtenay Vanderbilt.
“There have been lots of police, they’re very friendly,” Love said. “It makes you feel safer having them here.”
We asked several times whether Parks and Rec is now looking into the feasibility of any electronic monitoring to help deter assaulters or bring justice to victims. It doesn’t appear that way, according to the statement they sent back with the same information they gave us last November. They’re relying on increased an police presence.
“CMPD officers will continue to provide an increased presence on McAlpine Creek Greenway and all greenways across the city. Park and Recreation remains committed to collaborating with CMPD to enhance the safety of greenway users. We have implemented and will continue heightened patrols in the area. Park and Recreation’s current initiatives include adding additional information to existing mile/location markers along County greenways to enhance location identification for first responders. Users are encouraged to walk with others, be aware of their surroundings, and keep the sound volume of personal audio devices at low levels.”
Sadly, this is an issue Channel 9 has covered for years. In a Channel 9 investigation last November, Parks and Rec told us they weren’t considering emergency call boxes and blue lights because the electrical wiring could fail if the greenway floods.
Anyone with information about this latest case is asked to 911.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
(WATCH BELOW: CMPD increases presence on city’s greenways after sexual assault reported)