CRIME

Shady Grove Metro station sex assault reported

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(WJLA) - A woman trying to keep warm on a chilly December night was allegedly sexually assaulted by a bus driver in full uniform. Montgomery County police say it happened around 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 inside an empty commercial bus parked in the Shady Grove Metro station's west parking lot.

According to the police report, the driver offered the woman, who was waiting for someone to pick her up, a seat on his bus to stay warm. The woman accepted the driver's offer and boarded the bus, which was not in service at the time. The seemingly kind gesture, however, turned awry when the driver allegedly sexually fondled the woman.

"You don't know what's going to happen when you come out here. It's making me second guess getting on the bus now," Ride On commuter Ashleigh Nottingham said.

"If you don't know who they are or what their intentions are, you shouldn't trust them. There is a saying, don't talk to strangers," Gaithersburg resident Arlin Perez added while waiting to board a bus.

Much of the criminal investigation has centered around which bus the assault occurred on. Although a handful of commercial and residential buses serve the Shady Grove Metro station, Ride On and Metro have the largest fleets. According to police, detectives are using GPS tracking technology and cameras onboard many Ride On and Metro buses to create a list of potential suspects. The task is not easy. Ride On alone, which is operated by Montgomery County, has a squadron of 335 buses.

"For someone who's serving the public, that's too much serving if you ask me," Ride On commuter Renee Demar said.

Detectives are looking for a heavyset white man who wore a bus driver's uniform. The man, who reportedly is fluent in both English and Spanish, is between 40 and 50 years old, and stands between 5'2" and 5'4" tall.

"It's just overwhelming. I mean, you look for help and the person that can help you is just helping themselves. This goes to show you can't trust anybody in uniform at all anymore. Just sad," Demar concluded.

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