Suspect attempts to assault off-duty Loudoun Co. sheriff's deputy jogging on Va. trail

- A female off-duty Loudoun County sheriff's deputy is the latest victim of attempted assault on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail in Leesburg.

Leesburg police said the victim reported that she was jogging on the bike trail just before 6:30 a.m. Thursday between Valley View Avenue and South King Street when she was approached by a male suspect with what appeared to be a box cutter. However, there was no physical contact made as she was able to run away from the suspect while the suspect also fled the area.

The suspect is described as a black male approximately in his late 40s or early 50s with medium complexion. He stood at around 6’1” to 6’2” tall and weighed about 220 pounds. He was wearing all dark clothing at the time of the incident.

Leesburg police responded to the area, but were unable to locate the suspect.

This attempted assault comes eight days after another woman reported walking on the trail when two male suspects came out of the woods, threw her down to the ground and tried to sexually assault her on Aug. 17. She said a cyclist came by and the men ran off. However, police do not believe these incidents are related.

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said they will have an increased presence in the area and will be conducting directed patrols on the trail.

Anyone with information on this case is encouraged to contact the Leesburg Police Department immediately at 703-771-4500. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call the Leesburg Crime Line at 703-443-TIPS (8477). Information can also be sent using TIPSUBMIT via text. Text 274637 and being your message with LPDTIP.

The Leesburg Police Department is advising users of the trail to take the following steps to protect themselves when using paths and trails:

  • Always stay alert and be aware of your surroundings (Don't wear earphones).
  • Walk, run or bike with a partner or group.
  • Let someone know when you are on the trail, your route, and when you expect to return.
  • Walk, run, or bike when the path or trail is likely to have a higher volume of foot traffic.
  • Avoid using paths or trails when it is dark outside (Please note the W & OD trail is closed after dark for safety. Anyone on the trail after dark is considered to be trespassing).
  • Always carry a cell phone

Here are some helpful products that may also protect you from potential attacks:

Booby Trap Bras - boobytrapbras.com

SABRE -- Pepper spray, personal alarms and other personal safety products: www.sabrered.com

(NOTE: Some jurisdictions may require you register pepper spray with police. Also, in some places, the strength of the spray is restricted.)

RunRaegis -- A safety-first fitness app that tracks your run and has a panic button that will call and text your emergency contact: runraegis.com

iHelp -- A phone app with a panic button that can send for help or connect you with family, friends and first responders in case of an emergency: www.ihelp-world.com

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