Police searching for suspect after reported sexual assault on trail in Matthews

The Matthews Police Department is searching for a suspect after receiving reports about a sexual assault on Crestdale Heritage Trail early Sunday morning.

A woman told police an unknown man approached her and assaulted her while she was walking Club View Lane in the area of Matthews-Mint Hill Road around 4 a.m. The suspect then ran from the scene.

The suspect is described as a 6-foot-tall white male with an athletic build and dark hair.

Police said they plan to enhance safety measures in the area, including random and targeted patrols.

Detectives are asking residents in the area with security surveillance systems to check their footage for anything suspicious starting at around after midnight Sunday through the morning.

Neighbors who live near the trail told Channel 9 that they were stunned to hear about the alleged attack.

“It makes me feel unsafe as a young woman. I just live with my little brother, and you know, that just makes me uncomfortable that it’s just right outside my door. I don’t know any more details, but it’s concerning,” resident Paige Goodwin said.

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“We never have any issues whatsoever. It’s always pretty quiet. This is the first time I’ve heard of anything like this happening,” resident Pete Goodwin said. Goodwin said he has lived in the area for over 51 years.

Ronald Pritchard said he walks this trail almost every day. He said a Matthews officer knocked on his door Sunday morning to speak with him about this assault.

“He asked, ‘Did you hear anything or see anything last night?’ And I say, ‘No, I haven’t heard anything and my neighbors got cameras around here, but he (looked) up on his phone and didn’t see nothing,’” Pritchard said.

This is the second time a woman has been assaulted while walking or running on a trail in a week. The first assault occurred near the McAlpine Creek Greenway in east Charlotte on Wednesday morning.

Police said they do not believe they are looking for the same suspect in each of the cases.

(WATCH BELOW: Amid reported sex assault on greenway, organization wants survivors to know there’s help)