Police have arrested a man accused of several recent peeping incidents, and they’re asking other potential victims to come forward.
On Sunday afternoon, 48-year-old Michael Tomlin allegedly hid in a stall of a women’s restroom in a movie theater and was caught looking over the stall at a juvenile victim. Tomlin reportedly fled when the girl’s father confronted him. The father immediately contacted authorities with a description of the suspect, and the Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit found Tomlin yesterday in the 4300 block of N. Carlin Springs Road.
Tomlin has been arrested and charged with Trespassing and Peeping Tom. He is being held at the Arlington County Detention Facility on a $5,000 secured bond.
Tomlin has a history of criminal behavior and has served jail time for peeping tom incidents. He was released from jail in May, and has been tied to three peeping incidents since then, including one at Ballston Common Mall last month and the Clarendon Barnes and Noble in May. Police believe he may be responsible for other peeping incidents and they’re asking other victims to come forward.
Anyone who recognizes Tomlin from his recent booking photo (above left) or previous booking photo (above right) and may have information about him or additional crimes he may be involved with is asked to call Detective Jamey Trainer at 703-228-4185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be reported anonymously by contacting the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS.
The first occurred around 11:15 p.m. in the 3300 block of Washington Blvd, according to police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck. A 26-year-old female walked home alone after having spent a night out with friends. After she typed in the security code to open her garage door and walked inside the garage, she noticed the suspect standing at the bottom of her driveway. She became frightened and tried to close the automated garage door, but the man allegedly rushed toward her and stuck his hand over a sensor, causing the door to re-open. She made it inside the house, locked the door and called police while the suspect fled the scene.
According to Sternbeck, the victim described the suspect as a black man with a dark complexion and short hair, about 5’11″, 200 pounds and around 30 years of age. At the time, he had been wearing khaki pants and a red and white checkered shirt. The victim noted that she saw the suspect wearing black gloves when he put his hand over the garage sensor.
About an hour later, an individual matching the same description is believed to have attacked a woman in the 2100 block of Lee Highway. The 24-year-old female was walking home alone when the suspect allegedly grabbed and sexually assaulted her. The woman struggled and managed to punch the suspect in the stomach. He then reportedly threw her in some bushes and fled.
This victim told police that the suspect had covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming, and was wearing black gloves.
“Based on their descriptions and the similiarities in the incidents, we believe it’s the same individual,” Sternbeck said.
Police are reminding people to be aware of their surroundings, not to walk alone and to carry a cell phone for emergencies. Walkers are warned not to put themselves in vulnerable situations, or to have the “that can’t happen to me” mentality.
“We want people to be educated if they’re going to be out late at night,” Sternbeck said. “These are things you need to be aware of.”
Anybody with information about the suspect that may lead to his arrest is asked to call the police non-emergency number, at 703-558-2222.
The Arlington County Police Department’s Special Victims Unit asks for the public’s help in solving a crime. The department is trying to catch a sex offender and would like victims or witnesses to come forward.
The suspect has been known to find his victims through contact on internet sites and online advertisements. He is described as a black male, 35-45 years old, 5’7″-5’9″ and 160-180 pounds.
An incident two weeks ago is the latest in what may be a string of crimes by the same suspect. The victim told police she had been hired by the suspect from an online advertisement to perform sexual acts in a Crystal City hotel room. When the suspect arrived at the room, the victim asked him to leave. The victim was forced to stay in the room against her will and perform unwanted sexual acts. She was able to escape and immediately went to the police.
Anyone who believes they have been a sexual assault victim or witness to a crime by this suspect is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Department at 703-558-2222, or directly contact Detective Sandra Lafley at 703-228-4052. Detective Lafley can be emailed at email@example.com.