Arlington County Police have arrested a man in connection with three sexual assaults.
Melvin Perez Bonilla, 19, of Arlington was arrested Wednesday morning after he was spotted getting off a bus in the Courthouse area.
Bonilla is believed to be responsible for three of at least 10 sex assaults in the county since July, police said.
About 1:20 a.m. July 25, a man pushed a 25-year-old woman into bushes in the 1900 block of 15th Street North and sexually assaulted her, trying to shove his hand into her pants, police said. The victim described the man to a police sketch artist.
About 10:30 p.m. Sept. 29 near Washington-Lee High School, after a 23-year-old woman got off a bus on the 1200 block of Quincy Street, a man approached her from behind and forced her into bushes. He tried to sexually assault her. Neighbors raced to help the woman after hearing her scream.
That victim recognized the man from the bus, and police looked at surveillance images from the bus until they found a man who was a close match to the sketch from July 25.
Investigators tracked his trips with his SmarTrip card and staked out stops he frequently used. Bonilla was arrested in a parking lot across the street from police headquarters
The same man is believed to be responsible for an Aug. 8 attack in which a man grabbed a woman walking on the 1900 block of N. Highland Street about 2:45 a.m., pulled a pillowcase over her head and tried to sexually assault her.
"The community has been on edge for the last couple of months, but we have been working around the clock to solve this case, and we can rest a little easier now knowing that Bonilla's behind bars," Arlington County Police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said.
At least seven other attacks on women have been reported in Arlington since late July:
- A man threw a woman to the ground as she was running on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail in the Glencarlyn Park area about 8:45 p.m. July 31.
- A man pushed a woman to the ground and touched her inappropriately about 11:30 p.m. Aug. 1 on the 4300 block of N. Pershing Drive.
- A man carrying a stick grabbed the wrists of a woman and tried to drag her into the woods about 10:30 p.m. Aug. 13 on the 800 block of N. Frederick Street.
- A man tried to wrestle a mother to the ground as she walked with her young daughter about 8 p.m. Aug. 21 in Lubber Run Park.
- A man asked a woman for directions and then touched her inappropriately about 9:35 p.m. Aug. 24 on the 2000 block of S. Columbia Pike.
- A man approached a woman sitting on a bench, spoke with her and then touched her inappropriately between 1 and 2 p.m. Sept. 8 on the 1500 block of S. Fern Street.
- A 23-year-old woman was walking home about 2:30 a.m. Oct. 3 when a man who had been following her pushed her into bushes on the 1800 block of N. Scott Street in Rosslyn. The man touched the victim inappropriately and implied he had a knife, according to police.