Rohnert Park public safety officers on Tuesday arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of attacking a female jogger along a trail last month. The jogger fought off her male attacker on the Copeland Creek trail on Aug. 25 and he ran away, officers said. The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety increased patrols along the creek to look for someone who matched the description of the assailant.
Officers learned the attack was recorded on a nearby home’s surveillance camera and on Tuesday, motorcycle patrol traffic officer Justin Thompson saw a woman jogging in the trail area behind 400 Santa Alicia Drive. Thompson then saw a male wearing a hood over his head walk out of the creek and behind the woman on the trail, officers said. Thompson tried to contact the man after he started walking toward the woman, but he escaped by jumping fences in an apartment complex.
Other officers responded to the incident and 18-year-old Nicolas Sterba, of Rohnert Park, was detained on Santa Alicia Drive, officers said. Sterba admitted to detectives that he was the suspect involved in the attack on Aug. 25. He said he thought the female jogger was attractive and he grabbed her so she would stop and talk to him, officers said. Sterba told detectives he then realized grabbing the woman was the wrong thing to do so he released her and fled, officers said.
He said when he saw the other attractive female jogging on Tuesday, he decided to get her attention without grabbing her, but when he saw Thompson on the motorcycle, he got nervous and ran away, officers said. Sterba was booked into Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of false imprisonment, battery and resisting an officer. He is being held under $10,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court.
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