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Police identify suspect in O.C. sexual assault cases

August 16, 2013|By Jeremiah Dobruck

Police have identified a suspect in a sexual assault and an attempted sexual assault that occurred during two separate home invasions this year in Costa Mesa.

Thomas Walker, a 46-year-old transient, allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at knife point and attempted to sexually assault another in two incidents less than a month apart, the Costa Mesa Police Department said.

Walker has a long criminal background, police said, but had been out of jail at the time of the alleged crimes in January and February. His release was part of California’s prison realignment plan in which the state does not take some inmates who would normally be transferred to state prisons.

The program puts nonviolent and nonserious offenders eligible for parole under the supervision of county authorities instead of state parole officials.

Walker is now in Orange County Jail, according to police.

He was arrested by the Santa Ana Police Department and charged with burglary and drug-related crimes Feb. 27, two weeks after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in Costa Mesa, according to a new release from the Costa Mesa Police Department.

In that incident, Walker allegedly entered an apartment on Valencia Street near La Salle Avenue and threatened an 18-year-old woman with a small knife, telling her not to yell. Police say he then sexually assaulted the woman and fled on foot.

About four hours later, a crime-scene investigator thought he saw Walker in the area, but he was able to escape as residents chased him, police said.

Less than a month earlier, on Jan. 27, Walker allegedly entered an apartment on Mendoza Drive near Mission Drive through an unlocked sliding-glass door and attempted to sexually assault a 32-year-old woman before he fled.

Some of Walker’s previous run-ins with the law include a felony conviction for burglary as well as guilty pleas on drug charges and a felony charge of stalking, according to Orange County Superior Court records.

Costa Mesa police requested that the Orange County district attorney charge Walker with burglary, assault with intent to commit rape, forced oral copulation and false imprisonment.

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jeremiah.dobruck2@latimes.com

Dobruck writes for Times Community News.


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