Columbus Police seek sex assault suspect who posed as landscaper

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A woman is badly shaken up after police say a man posing as a landscaper walked into her home and tried to sexually assault her.

Police are actively searching for that suspect they describe as a Hispanic man in his thirties, 5'7," with short brown hair wearing a goatee. Detectives say he's the man who knocked on that woman's door and ultimately attacked.

The Tipton Lakes community in Columbus is a nice, upscale neighborhood where it's not uncommon to see lawn care workers or hear them.

"I imagine a lot of people aren't very suspicious," said Michael Fahey.

Fahey is a local contractor who has done work in this area for years.  That's why he was so surprised to hear about Thursday morning's attack at a home just a few doors down. 

According to police, a man knocked on a door offering to do some landscaping.  When the 65-year-old woman, who was keeping her small grandchild, declined, he walked inside uninvited. 

"That's when he basically grabbed her, threw her on the couch and tried to hold her down with his hand around her neck. At one point, she began to scream. He covered her face with his hand and she bit his hand," said Lt. Matt Myers, Columbus Police Department.

That's when the woman noticed a flower tattoo near his wrist.  After that, police say the man ran out of the house and sped off in a gray four-door car.  But he left some crucial evidence behind.

"She did bite the man between the index finger and the thumb and it did draw blood. So there was blood there at the scene and there was blood on the victim," said Lt. Myers.

"I guess he wasn't that smart because he got himself attacked right back, which is great. I love that," said Fahey.

But none of this is anything this neighborhood is used to hearing about happening so close to home.

"After I hear this horrible thing, I say I should be more careful before I open the door," said Yufong Hwang, a neighbor.

"It just shows you need to keep that chain on the door or don't answer at all if you don't know them," said Fahey.

One last bit of advice: Columbus Police say anyone going door-to-door in the city selling anything in the city should have a permit  saying who they are, who they work for and it should be signed by the police chief.