Decatur man arrested after 2 women report being attacked in Downtown area


DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — Decatur Police said a man was arrested after two women reported being attacked in the downtown area.

In a news release, Sergeant Christopher Copeland said the first incident happened around 6:15 p.m. on October 2. A woman was getting something out of her vehicle at the Decatur Club when a man followed her back into the building and up the stairs. Once they got to the second floor, the man pulled her into an empty room and propped a chair against the door. He then grabbed the woman’s arms and started “pulling and pushing her around,” according to Copeland.

The woman was able to get away and ran to the women’s bathroom. Another woman in the restroom yelled at the man. He ran out of the building and got into a gray/silver Impala.

On October 4, a woman was pulling out of her parking spot along Merchant Street when a man in an Impala got out of his vehicle and walked in front of hers, causing her to stop. She rolled down her window partially and he asked her for the location of a restaurant. Copeland said the woman did not sense the man as a threat, so she rolled down her window all the way. Immediately, the suspect reached into her car and grabbed her inner thigh.

The woman rolled her window up with the man’s arm still trapped and started driving forward while honking the horn. She then rolled the window down and pulled to a stop sign. The woman got out of the car and yelled at the man that she was calling 911; she thought he was going to attack another woman she saw standing in the area. The man then drove off in his vehicle.

Copeland said the suspect’s description in both accounts was very similar to a Decatur man wanted for unrelated domestic violence charges. That man, Preston Thomas, had escaped U.S. Marshals on October 4 after a car crash. After he wrecked his vehicle, he ran away into a wooded area.

On October 5, Thomas was identified as the suspect from the incident at the Decatur Club. A warrant for kidnapping and unlawful restraint was issued. He was found late Wednesday night near Jasper and Wood. He was driving a stolen vehicle, according to Copeland. Officers tried to stop him but ultimately had to chase him for a short time. He is currently being held at the Macon County Jail on numerous charges.

Copeland stated officers are still investigating the incident on Merchant Street and additional charges may be released. Neither women knew the suspect.

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