AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department is searching for a suspect who sexually assaulted a woman in the backseat of her car after posing as law enforcement and initiating a false traffic stop Wednesday morning in southeast Austin.
APD said the assault occurred at about 7 a.m. near the 8600 block of Bluff Springs Road.
Police said the suspect was driving a “black, unmarked law enforcement-type vehicle” with a light bar on top. He turned on the lights, and the victim thought she was being pulled over.
Officers said the victim stopped, and the suspect assaulted her in the backseat of her car. The suspect showed a black gun during the assault and wore a ski mask.
According to APD, the suspect could be a tan-skinned white man who is about six feet tall.
KXAN spoke to neighbors who live just steps away from the crime scene. They told our crew the areas surrounding their neighborhood have seen an uptick in crime over the last five years.
“I bought my father’s house, because I wanted to raise my kids here, because it was a nice place, but it’s starting to get really bad lately,” said Michael Toupin.
Toupin said his family has heard and seen shootings in the area. Other neighbors said there has been an increase in thefts.
“I see a lot of things going on William Cannon Drive, Slaughter and Bluff Springs Road, a lot of [crime] reports,” said Fred Rodriguez.
Anyone with information about the assault or suspect can call the APD Sex Crimes Unit at (512) 974-5095 or Crime Stoppers at (512) 472-TIPS. Information can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.
APD said if you are being pulled over and do not feel safe, you can turn your flashers on and drive slowly to a well-lit, populated area. Additionally, you can call 911 while driving to verify if you are being pulled over by actual law enforcement personnel.
Officers who initiate traffic stops will be wearing identifying emblems on their clothing or will have a badge or ID. They will also tell you what agency they’re working with while speaking with you.