‘It's Nerve-Wracking'

'Person of interest' arrested, but 'not a suspect'

San Diego police have released the identity of a man they consider "a person of interest" in the second of two home invasion robbery and sexual assault cases in Carmel Valley in the past month.

But they say 44-year-old Todd Martin, arrested Thursday on a count of possessing a controlled substance, "is not a suspect" in Wednesday's incident in the 3700 block of Carmel View Drive -- the same street where Martin lives -- "and was not booked for this case."

Beyond that, no further details are being made public as to whether either victim has identified Martin from a lineup.

Martin's arrest, but not his name, was announced at a police-sponsored community meeting Thursday evening in Carmel Valley.

"The only thing that leads us to believe he could be the guy," Capt. Kathleen Healey told the large gathering, "is his physical description" -- which has varied from a Hispanic to a white male, possibly in his 30s or 40s, approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall, thin build and wearing sunglasses and a dark t-shirt and jeans.

Given that Martin is not officially a suspect, Carmel Valley residents continued to express concerns Friday that the actual assailant is still at large, and may strike at more women in the area.

While the two robbery-assault victims are Asian, and police prominently noted that fact, not everyone is ready to believe they were targeted on the basis of their ethnicity.

"My feeling is that when you go to Ralphs or Vons," said Noreen Bromley during an interview in a park across the street where her daughter and grandchildren live, "you're not aware of somebody watching you. I'm just thinking that this individual is just following them home."

The assailant also attacked the women after storming into their garages after the doors were opened.

"I have my garage door open; my kids play in the garage and in the cul-de-sac," said Gabrielle Pool. "Who's to say that I wouldn't be targeted?"

"The past two weeks, since I've been hearing about this happening, right when I get into my garage, before my car is even turned off, my garage door is closed,” added Rana Banna. It doesn't matter who he's targeting.  It's just a scary thought that someone's out there doing this."

Other Carmel Valley women said they're creating informal neighborhood watch groups.

"And when we see a strange car, we definitely pay attention," said Nancy Comer. "We alert each other if there's one we're not familiar with parked in front of a house."

For some, the concerns borders on paranoia.

"I feel that if your husband goes away on business now," said Trisha Cirone, "you're on standby --like, 'Is somebody outside my door, is somebody going to threaten my family?  It’s nerve-wracking."

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