RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – A local teen who was reported as a runaway by her parents on Wednesday morning has been found safe in Florida, and the man she was found with is now in jail.
Luis Alfredo Bernal-Lopez, 29, of Russellville, is being held at the Holmes County Jail in Bonifay, FL on a charge of Sexual Assault in the 4th Degree.
Back in April, the man had been accused of stealing women’s underwear (full story below).
In yesterday’s arrest, the Russellville Police Department (RPD) says its detectives suspected the 14-year-old was with Bernal-Lopez and tracked them down Wednesday afternoon with the help of Arkansas State Police and the Florida Highway Patrol as they drove along Interstate 10.
An officer was following Bernal-Lopez when he took an exit and pulled into the parking lot of a store. After officers spotted the teen inside his vehicle, they placed him under arrest.
The girl has been released to her parents.
Related story (April 2019):
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – The story of a suspected underwear thief has invaded a tight-knit Russellville neighborhood.
Police arrested Luis Alfredo Bernal-Lopez last weekend after authorities say he broke into a neighboring apartment and stole multiple pairs of women’s undergarments.
“I’ve never really heard of anything like that,” Carla Langford says.
Langford lives in the area and was shocked to learn about the arrest.
“That makes me uncomfortable. I definitely would be concerned [about] somebody wanting my undergarments.”
The break-in happened at a duplex along G Street, according to police documents.
The woman whose apartment was broken into told police she noticed the towel rack was bent in her bathroom, and she saw fingerprints on it. She then told officers she realized some of her underwear was missing, according to a police report.
Detectives later found footprints in the woman’s attic and a wall that had been busted in, which connected to the suspect’s attic.
Officers questioned Bernal-Lopez at his apartment, and he denied doing anything wrong.
Officers then served a search warrant and found at least six pairs of women’s underwear in Bernal-Lopez’s apartment.
Police arrested Bernal-Lopez on charges of Burglary and Criminal Mischief, according to police records.
Bernal-Lopez was booked into the Pope County jail but has since bonded out.