Police credit witnesses for helping them identify and arrest a man suspected of a sexual assault in Myers Park on Wednesday and another one in Dilworth on Friday morning.
In the first incident, police accuse Larry Jarome Bailey, 21, of grabbing and fondling a young woman who was out walking around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday on Briarcliff Place, off Queens Road East. A police report said he tried to restrain the victim against her will.
The assailant told the victim he had a gun, but she managed to get away, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Lt. Melanie Peacock told reporters at CMPD headquarters Friday afternoon. The man had twice driven past the victim before leaving his car and attacking her, Peacock said.
A nearby witness called 911 and described the car, police said. The witness snapped a photo of the car and its license plate, enabling police to obtain an arrest warrant for Bailey that same day, Peacock said.
Police were actively looking for Bailey when the second assault occurred at 5:51 a.m. Friday on East Boulevard at Cleveland Avenue in Dilworth.
The victim told police she was jogging when a man approached her and grabbed and fondled her. The man left in a silver Toyota Mitsubishi.
“She screams, fights him off,” Peacock said. “Fortunately, it doesn’t escalate beyond that point.”
A witness saw a car leaving the scene and gave a description to police that was “very similar” to the car in Wednesday’s attack, she said.
Two CMPD sergeants patrolling the area soon saw the car and stopped it on Radcliffe Avenue, taking its lone occupant into custody. Officers found drugs and drug paraphernalia in the car, Peacock said.
Bailey was charged with first-degree sex offense, kidnapping, sexual battery, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
It is Bailey's sixth arrest in Mecklenburg County, dating back to 2014, records show. Most of the arrests involved charges of possession of marijuana, along with resisting arrest and assault on a government employee, arrest records show.
North Carolina court records show Bailey had been found guilty three times of possession of drug or marijuana paraphernalia, and also has convictions for driving after consuming alcohol and speeding.
The victims didn’t know Bailey, who confessed to both assaults, police said.
“The best thing they did was call 911,” Peacock said of the victims and witnesses. “The victims did exactly what we would ask: They called us immediately. And we had some really good citizen witnesses who stuck around, gave us good information that led to this arrest.”
“We always say, ‘See something, say something,’ ” the lieutenant said. “This is a perfect example of how that worked out. The community often makes the difference in whether a crime gets solved or not, so we’re grateful for that.”
The July 4 attempted kidnappings of two joggers in Charlotte are unrelated, CMPD Capt. Chris Dozier said. Police have a person of interest in those cases, he said.
Anyone with additional information in the cases is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.
Joe Marusak; 704-358-5067; @jmarusak