Crime

Police Catch Serial Attacker By Using Decoy

| by Michael Doherty
A booking photo of Brandon Murdock.A booking photo of Brandon Murdock.

A Virginia man who is accused of sexually assaulting three women has been arrested after police set up a decoy to trick him into getting caught.

According to police, Brandon Murdock, 31, had been breaking into rooms at a hotel in Manassas, Virginia, and sexually assaulting women while they were asleep, WTTG reports. Murdock is accused of attacking two teenage girls and a 63-year-old woman.

Police said it was not clear why Murdock continued to return to the Wyndham Garden Hotel, more than an hour away from his home. Investigators did not say whether Murdock was an employee of the hotel, but the women's rooms did not appear to have been broken into.

Authorities have said that they believe Murdock assaulted a 63-year-old woman while she was sleeping in September, as well as a pair of 15- and 16-year-old girls who were staying at the hotel on a school trip from South Korea in October 2015. In each of the cases, the victims reportedly woke up to a strange man touching them, and managed to get away.

In an October 2016 sting operation, police set up a decoy under the covers in a hotel bed. Murdock broke into the room on the first night of the operation and tried to assault the decoy, ending with his arrest by authorities.

Police did not say what the decoy was, but said that it was not a dummy or an undercover officer, according to the Washington Post.

Sgt. Jonathan Perok, a spokesperson for the Prince William County police, said that the sting operation came from investigators' willingness to look at anything to catch the criminal.

"We didn’t know if it was going to take days, weeks or months, but we were kind of, at that point, where we needed to try pretty much anything we could to get this offender off the street because we were worried that the offenses would escalate," he said.

"We have three victims right now, but we didn’t want there to be a fourth," he explained. "So we did this operation out of luck hopefully to try and catch this person, and thankfully we did."

Murdock is scheduled for a preliminary court hearing in November.

Sources: WTTG, Washington Post / Photo Credit: WTTG

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