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Richmond police defend month-long delay on abduction, sexual assault case

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — The head of Richmond’s major crimes division, Maj. Steve Drew, says each investigation is different. In the robbery, abduction and sexual assault of a woman on East Cary Street, he says detectives were working strong leads and insists the police never put the public at risk.

On August 14, at 2:30 in the morning, police say a couple was involved in snatching a woman, and then forcing her to drive to several ATM machines. Police say the male suspect then assaulted the victim.

“It’s unfortunate and scary when it does happen,” said Pennsylvania native Brad Lawson, who moved to Tobacco Row in April. He’s set to marry in a week, and news of the violence is startling for his soon-to-be wife, Kristen Brumbach.

“It’s terrifying because we don’t have a dog park at our complex, so I have to walk him on the street,” said Brumbach. “It’s scary to know it’s going on outside our door.”

Both downtown residents feel police need to warn the public within minutes or hours of the crime.

“Get it out as soon as possible because maybe people will see somebody,” said Lawson.

But police tell us that’s not how it works. Because every case is different, Drew says they weighed all of their options and felt the way they handled disseminating information was appropriate.

“We don’t want to create a panic,” said Drew. “In this particular case, detectives had strong leads at the time.”

Police say after analyzing forensic evidence and reviewing witness statements, they cleaned up surveillance images to show to the public.

They also deployed officers in a covert capacity and continue to defend the department’s decision for the month’s delay.

“I want to be very clear,” said Drew. “If they are incidents that put the community in danger, the information will be released immediately.”

Drew says the working relationship police have with the community will eventually help solve this case. The two suspects whose images we’ve broadcast are known to frequent the Fas Mart off Hull Street and the Meadow Creek Apartments.

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