Surveillance pic of Mario Hills
EL CERRITO – A man accused of committing a sexual assault last week was identified and arrested within three days, thanks to the collaboration of two police agencies, along with help from an off-duty cop and members of the public.
On August 22 at approximately 6:40 a.m., a man grabbed and attempted to sexually assault a woman on Stockton Avenue in El Cerrito, but the suspect ran away when the woman screamed loudly and attracted the attention of neighbors.
El Cerrito police obtained witness statements along with video surveillance pictures of the suspect, but he eluded capture for three days.
A TV-news program later broadcast pictures of the suspect released by the police, and an off-duty officer from another agency saw it, recognized the suspect and alerted the El Cerrito police department, which obtained identifying information and an arrest warrant.
The suspect with a last known address in San Francisco was believed to have traveled to El Cerrito on a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train. Considered dangerous to the public, El Cerrito police advised BART passengers to be cautious while he remained at large.
On August 25, a member of the public saw the suspect near a Safeway supermarket at 1550 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, and contacted the Berkeley police, who responded and detained 28-year-old Mario X. Hills, until El Cerrito officers could arrive and haul him away.
Mario X. Hills was booked at the Martinez Detention Facility on suspicion of assault with intent to rape. Bail for his release was set at $100,000.