CORAL SPRINGS (CBS4) – Police in Coral Springs have credited an alert resident for helping them catch a man who reportedly tried to rape a hotel clerk.
Police say the situation unfolded at the La Quinta Inn & Suites at 3701 University Drive on Thursday morning around 4:45. Police say the suspect — Maurice Miller, out of prison less than 5 days — tried to sexually assault a front desk employee.
According to police, Miller asked the female worker for room rates and a pair of napkins. Minutes later, he returned and said the vending machine had taken his money. The employee said she would give him a refund if he provided his room information. He could not.
A short time later, after the employee went into an office to work, she heard the door to the office open. Police said it was Miller, who had hopped the front counter, trying to get her.
“Mr. Miller was only wearing a t-shirt,” explained Coral Springs Police Spokesman Lt. Joe McHugh. “He actually had nothing on underneath and he was holding his penis in his hand. He forced her into a back office and tried to rape her at that point.”
McHugh said the victim fought back with her fists and her lungs.
“She did one of the best things you can do by yelling and screaming to call attention to yourself so other people can come and help,” McHugh said.
Police say the employee suffered a swollen lip and is in pain after being punched in the head and face.
Miller fled, police say. A search ensued by ground and air. Officers had no luck finding Miller.
Then around 8:45 a phone call came in to 911. A woman who lives in the area of the hotel saw a suspicious man in her neighborhood. She decided to report the man to police.
“I know my neighbors and I know he wasn’t a neighbor,” the resident, who did not wish to be named, told CBS 4 News’ Carey Codd.
Police responded and found the man, who matched the description of the hotel attacker. The victim picked the man out of a photo line-up and Maurice Miller was arrested, after a police K-9 tracked him down. Miller suffered a couple of dog bites and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Police say the resident did the right thing.
“This person did a tremendous job by making the phone call and ultimately taking a sexual battery suspect off the street,” McHugh said.
State records show Miller left the Jackson Correctional Institution on Saturday, after serving time for aggravated assault, aggravated fleeing to elude police and false imprisonment.
“That is an individual that is extremely sick,” McHugh said. “Obviously he’s just released from prison on September 17 and now he attempts to rape an individual. What is going through the mind of that individual? I have no idea.”
Miller is locked up at the Broward County Jail on charges of attempted sexual battery, burglary and exposure of sexual organs.
The resident who called 911 said she’s glad Miller is off the streets.
“I’m happy that he’s not gonna hurt somebody else,” she said.