Los Angeles, CA – Women on skid row are breathing easier these days after a taxi driver who allegedly committed a string of sexual assaults on five women was arrested Wednesday, Jan. 21 by police.
Police issued a community alert bulletin with a composite sketch of the suspect who drove a taxi cab and targeted homeless females in the skid row area. According to police reports, the suspect would coax the victim into his cab and then drive her to a secondary location where he would sexually assault her. After the sexual assaults, the suspect would then abandon the victim at the scene and drive away.
Hollywood resident Eric Clay, 37, was arrested on the evening of Jan. 21 at 10:30 p.m. after an unidentified woman flagged down a police unit and told them she saw a man inside a taxi cab that resembled a composite sketch of the suspect, described as a male Black with a mustache and a stocky build.
“She said there’s a man on 7th Street and Central Avenue who resembles the suspect,” said Lt. Felicia Hall of the robbery homicide division. “An officer detained the taxi driver. The officer then called detectives from the robbery homicide division and after detectives questioned the suspect, we felt that we had gathered enough information to place the suspect under arrest.”
The sexual assaults occurred between August 22 and December 22, 2008. In each incident, the lone customer was picked up in the area of Central Avenue, Main Street and East 6th and 8th Streets in downtown Los Angeles.
Lt. Hall said that the public should not be hesitant about taking taxis after the arrest. “People ride hundreds of cabs safely everyday, so this suspect’s behavior was not the norm,” said Lt. Hall.
“This was a person who specifically preyed on homeless women in the skid row area. We don’t want people to fear taking taxi cabs.”
Lt. Hall thanked the public for furnishing information on the suspect. “The arrest shows what the police can do with the support of the community.”