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Cloquet police seek help in locating assault suspect

The police aren't sure if the attempted sexual assault in broad daylight was random, and are asking for residents to review their home surveillance footage.

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CLOQUET — Police are asking for the public’s help to locate a suspect following the report Tuesday of an attempted sexual assault.

Cloquet police have requested residents in the Pinehurst Park and Carlton Avenue West areas to review home surveillance video for anyone matching a suspect description. The suspect was described in a Cloquet Police Department news release early Wednesday as “wearing all black clothing and a ball cap, mid-20s in age, a thin mustache, skinny build, 5-foot-4, and Native American.”

The attempted assault occurred after 3 p.m. Tuesday, with police responding to the 1500 block of Carlton Avenue West.

A 69-year-old woman told police a man approached her while she was walking. The suspect brandished some type of weapon — a handgun or replica gun — pulled down his pants, and demanded a sexual act, the news release said.

“We do not know if this was a targeted or random incident,” Police Chief Derek Randall said. “We urge the public to be vigilant and call 911 if you notice someone acting suspicious or matches the suspect’s description.”

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After the suspect’s attempt failed, he fled on foot from the scene into the nearby woods and swamp area, leaving behind a bicycle. The reporting person told 911 that the victim had flagged them down while passing by.

Officers from multiple agencies established a perimeter around the area. A K-9 from the Fond du Lac Police Department and the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office drone team assisted in the search.

After a two-hour search and witness reports, police believe the suspect was able to flee the area before officers arrived. No arrests had been made in the case as of early Wednesday morning.

The recovered bicycle was later determined to have been stolen earlier from Pinehurst Park. It was processed for evidence that might help identify the man.

Officers continue to follow leads and information as it is learned, said the police, adding that they will release video or images of the suspect when those are received.

Anyone with information about this event is encouraged to contact the Cloquet Police Department by calling 911; emailing records@cloquetmn.gov ; messaging via private message to the department’s Facebook or Twitter page; or texting TIP CLOQUETPD, followed by your message, to 888777.

Related Topics: DULUTHCLOQUETASSAULT
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