A Coral Springs man's flight to freedom was short-lived when officers arrested him about 30 minutes after a 14-year-old girl was attacked in her bed, police said.
Alfonso Palomo Mendoza, 44, was arrested and accused of breaking into a neighbor's house through a sliding glass door around 11:30 p.m. Monday, Sgt. Carla Kmiotek said.
"He went right to the 14-year-old's room and attempted to assault her," she said. "She screamed and he continued to assault her and tried to cover her mouth in the process to stop her from screaming."
Mendoza ripped off the teenager's pajama bottoms and underwear during the attack, according to the arrest report.
"The mother heard her [screaming] and ran into the bedroom and he fled out the bedroom window," Kmiotek said.
The mother ran to a neighbor for help. He tried to chase Mendoza but lost him. Police set up a perimeter and had Mendoza in custody around midnight, Kmiotek said.
"They caught him several blocks away," she said. "He was not at his home."
Police are unsure whether the attack was random or the family was targeted.
"It's unclear at this time," Kmiotek said. "They don't know him but he does live near them."
Mendoza has refused to speak with detectives. He does not appear on any sexual predator list and has no criminal record in Florida, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records.
"It's a scary crime when you have somebody violate you by entering your residence while you're home," Kmiotek said. "He went straight into the girl's bedroom and tried to sexually assault her with her mother in the next room."
A younger sister was unharmed. The girls' father arrived home from work shortly after the arrest, Kmiotek said.
Mendoza is being held without bond on charges that include burglary with assault and battery, lewd and lascivious battery, and resisting arrest, jail records show.
Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report.
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