A suspect in custody for a home invasion robbery and violent attack on a young woman Wednesday afternoon is in custody and may be the same suspect sought in a yearlong series of attacks dating back to June 2008, according to San Diego police.
The arrest took place around 1:30 p.m. in Mission Valley.
A woman had just returned home from shopping and was in her garage when the suspect, identified later by police as 39-year-old Thomas Parker, grabbed her from behind and threatened her with a knife, according to San Diego Police captain Jim Collins. Parker started to close the garage door when the woman began to fight back.
Neighbor Marlene Borchard spoke to the victim after the attack.
"He put her hands behind her back and was starting to tie her up, and pulled a knife around her neck, and started shutting the garage door," Borchard said. "That's when she got crazy. As she was fighting him off, she hit the garage door button. It came back up -- she was screaming and yelling."
Vince Sparks heard the screams and looked out his kitchen window.
"I saw the [suspect] running out of the garage, and I saw her running behind him, bleeding from her forehead," Sparks said
Sparks told his fiance to call 911 and began chasing the suspect on foot through the Escala Condominium Complex.
Police said Parker ran out of the complex, but the victim, who's also a marathon runner, continued to chase him. As the suspect tried to cross Fenton Parkway and Friars Road, an off-duty Border Patrol Agent saw the suspect running and chased him down. A second off-duty Border Patrol Agent saw the incident and helped until police officers arrived.
Sparks, who was with the victim and another neighbor, helped corner Parker.
"The Border Patrolman pulled out his weapon and showed his badge," said Sparks.
Sparks said Parker gave up without incident. He also said Parker was carrying a small bag.
"He did have duct tape, zip ties and gloves for his hands," Sparks said
The woman was slightly injured during the assault but didn't require immediate medical attention, said police.
Parker, who lives in the Tierrasanta area, will be booked into the county jail on charges of burglary, robbery, assault with intent to commit rape and false imprisonment.
Additional charges may be added based on the results of DNA testing. This attack has similarities to other recent attacks, and police believe this is the same suspect in those attacks. In the other incidents, the suspect entered through the garage and attacked the victim from behind with a knife and sexually assaulted them, according to San Diego police.
But in those attacks, all the victims are Asian. Sparks said the victim in Wednesday's attack is white.