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Victim recounts indecent exposure, defending herself with mace on High Line Canal Trail

Posted at 1:59 PM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-03 20:27:43-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The victim of one of the latest crimes on High Line Canal Trail in Arapahoe County tells Denver7 she used pepper spray to defend herself from a partially nude man. 

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office announced Monday they're investigating two separate cases of indecent exposure in the same area of the High Line Canal Trail from over the weekend. 

Detectives believe the cases involve the same suspect, who has yet to be identified. They put together a description using details from the victims, one whom spoke to Denver7 a day after the attacks on the condition of anonymity. 

The description painted the picture of a white male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, described as either in his late teens or early 20's. Police said the person was of average height and about 130 pounds. The man reportedly has brown hair and is cleanshaven. He reportedly wore sweatpants or blue jeans. 

Both victims said they hadn't seen the man before and reported frequently using the trail. Police are asking for any help in identifying the man, and asking for any other victims to step forward. 

One victim, who will remain nameless, said the man attempted to attack her after exposing himself. She said she pulled out a can of pepper spray and threatened to use it, chasing him away. 

"He looked really suspicious, he walked around with his hands in his pockets," she said of seeing the man on her Sunday run. "On my way back, I guess that's when he decided that there was no one around and he could approach me, and when he did, he exposed himself to me and started walking quickly towards me." 

She likened the attack to the recent attack of a runner on High Line Canal which shook the Arapahoe County community. 

"It messes with your head afterwards," she said. "You get a sense of security running in the community that you know and when something like this happens ... if something like this happens, then obviously I'm more vulnerable than I think I am." 

In a separate attack in the same area on March 27, police said a high-school aged woman was attacked from behind while running, and successfully fought off the attacker. 

MORE | Witnesses come forward in runner attack.

Eventually, witnesses came forward, saying the girl bravely fought off the man by kicking and screaming. They said the girl suffered serious bodily injury, with severe bruising and more. 

"There's a predator out there and he needs to be stopped," Michael Blackmon, who lives in the area of High Line Canal Trail, said. 

Police described the attacker in that attack in a similar manner to the attacker described Monday, however they said the man who attacked the runner may be 5-foot-10 or 6-feet-tall. 

Arapahoe County Sheriff's Deputies and Denver Police are working together on the investigation and encouraged anybody with information to call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. 

For the victim who spoke with us, she said she won't be letting the attack stop her from running, but she said she'll be more armed the next time she runs in the community. 

Watch more on this story on Denver7 at 5 and Denver7 at 6. 

Sally Mamdooh contributed to the reporting of this story. 

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