Iowa City Police Investigate Break-ins, Attempted Sexual Assault

By Hayley Bruce, Reporter

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By Belinda Yeung

IOWA CITY, Iowa —Police said a man tried to sexually assault a teenage girl after he broke into a southeast Iowa City home early Sunday morning.

Two burglaries were reported on the 1200 block of Sandusky Drive within two hours in the same neighborhood, and may be related, police said. During the second break-in, the suspect was reportedly threatening a girl with a gun when an adult came home and he ran away. No serious injuries were reported.

According to a release from the department, police were called to the Wetherby neighborhood around 12:15 a.m. Sunday for a report that a man had broken into a home and tried to steal several things before being chased out of the residence by the man who lived there. Police said the man tried to catch the suspect, but the suspect threatened to shoot him with a gun.

At 1:45 a.m., police were dispatched to the same area for a report of a second burglary and an attempted sexual assault. The release said the suspect forced his way into the home and started to steal things. While inside, the man reportedly encountered a 14-year-old girl who he tried to sexually assault by threatening her with a gun and ordering her to do what he said.

Police said the attempted sexual assault was stopped when an adult came home, causing the suspect to run away on foot.

The release said police canvassed the neighborhood and determined a man who goes by the nickname "Freaky Tone" had been in the area the last few days asking people where and when they go to work.

Vada Washington, the mother of the 14-year-old, told the Gazette she and her husband had stepped out of the house for an hour to visit with her sister-in-law a few blocks away at the time of the incident. When her husband came back to check on the kids after about an hour, she said he found them crying and scared.

"I've lived in Iowa City 12 years. I came from Chicago, I felt so safe out here and I was glad I could get my kids out of a place that wasn't safe for them," Washington said. "I sleep with my doors open because that's how safe I feel out here. Everyone knows me, everyone knows my kids, I've never had problems with people like this. I would have never thought someone would come in my house like this."

Washington said the man came into the house and sat next to her daughter while she was asleep on the couch, patting her face. When the daughter woke up and realized the suspect was not one of her parents, she screamed and woke up five other children who were sleeping in the house causing the man to put his hand over her mouth, Washington said.

When the other children realized what was going on and began screaming, Washington said the suspect pointed a gun at them and told them to shut up, or he would shoot them. She said he then closed the window, but a cigarette out on her daughter's head, and told her to go into the kitchen, threatening her with a gun.

Washington said the suspect stole all her money as well as her children's ADHD medication.

"My water is going to get disconnected, he took the grocery money, the utility money — he even took 14 dollars my son had in his wallet," Washington said.

She added that the man police mentioned in the release, Freaky Tone, had been following her kids around throughout the day while she watched them play outside and spoken to her on Saturday.

"I feel guilty for leaving them for a couple hours, I should have been home but this has never happened before so I never thought this would have happened to me," Washington said. "So now we're just trying to deal with it as best as we can."

Washington said her daughter is still in a state of shock, and her children have not been able to sleep since the incident.

The suspect is described as a black man around 20 years old, standing between 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8, with a medium to light complexion. Police said he was thought to be wearing a black, long-sleeved shirt or sweat shirt with red sleeves, blue jeans and black shoes.

Though investigators do not know whether the crimes are related, the release said similar descriptions provided by the alleged victims suggests they are. Police also said the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous, and are advising the public to call police if they encounter him. Police also are asking the public to inform them if the man sounds familiar.

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