SILOAM SPRINGS, AR - A teen is arrested, after being accused of assaulting women on a walking trail in Siloam Springs (Benton County).
"The individual was running up and grabbing women on their buttocks, on their legs, trying to grab them from the front."
Police say several women were assaulted during daylight hours.
"In one case, the subject grabbed a lady and asked her if she wanted to have sex with him," says Sgt. Derek Spicer with the Siloam Springs Police Department
Sgt. Spicer says police received the first complaint in January and the most recent report was filed earlier this week. The assaults all took place along one area of the walking trail near Cheri Whitlock Parkway.
Now, the young man accused of the crimes is behind bars and Sergeant Spicer does not want folks fearing for their safety.
"The patrol officers do a great job of patrolling and checking on the trails. At certain times throughout the year we will give officers the opportunity to get on bicycles and go through the trails," he says.
Women in the area see cause for concern, but feel protected.
"I go out walking with my kids sometimes on the trails... I've seen policemen patrol the neighborhood. I see them often patrolling around here," says Angela Jeppsen.
"I'm protected by the officers here in the local area. They're wonderful," Kelly Lloyd says.
The walking trail is well-lit and easily seen next to a busy road. So aside from good old fashioned common sense, Sergeant Spicer had a few walking trail safety tips
"If you can keep from wearing earbuds it's best so that you can hear... Let people know when you leave, the route you're going to run or walk and let them know when you should be back... People are less inclined to approach someone or mess with someone that they think is confident and is aware of their surroundings and has their head up and is paying attention," says Sgt. Spicer.
And Sgt. Spicer wants people to enjoy the trails in Siloam Springs.
"The only thing people have to fear on the walking trail is not bundling up and catching a cold," he says.
Sgt. Spicer says the young man arrested has taken responsibility for each incident, so they believe he was acting alone at this point. It is still an active investigation, so police are also encouraging anyone witnesses or additional victims to please come forward.
Siloam Springs also has a notification system called Blackboard Connect
, that allows officials to contact you in the case of a major crisis or emergency. To sign up for the alert system, click here.
Reported by: Marissa Stevens
, KNWA-TV - Fayetteville