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Updated: Vernon Police Take to the Neighborhoods in Rails-to-Trails Assault Case

Detectives are saying they had several leads in the case before the tour and have even more after.

Updated: Sept. 26 at 10:42 a.m.

Vernon police on Tuesday toured the neighborhoods on and near the Rails-to-Trails system on Tuesday as part of their continuing investigation into an alleged attempted sexual assault on one section of the system near Vernon Center.

And they plan to go back on Wednesday evening. 

Police hit the streets at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and stayed out until it was dark, knocking on doors, interviewing residents and just looking around for clues. Even though the crime allegedly took place on a small section between Center Road and Route 30, their canvass of the trail corridor was complete and included every section of town. 

Det. James Grady said police had, "a significant amount of tips and leads, which are still being pursued," before the canvass, and, as he and Sgt. Todd Thiel wrapped up a tour of the Center Road area, he said, "We did well tonight." 

Police said a woman was assaulted on the Vernon Rails-To-Trails system on Sept. 19 at about 7 p.m. 

The crime is believed to be, "a sexually motivated attack," based on information obtained by detectives, Grady said. Police also believe the suspect has frequented the Rails-To-Trails system.

Detectives believe that more people may have information about the suspect's identity. 

The suspect is being described as a white male, about mid-30s, between 5-foot-9 and 6-feet tall, with a thin build. Police said the suspect has gray hair styled in a crew cut. The suspect was wearing a white T-shirt and dark colored athletic shorts at the time of the crime, police said.

Police are asking members of the public to concentrate more on the actual description than a composite sketch of the suspect released last week. The sketch is computer-generated based on description input, but can become quite generic, in this case making it look like the suspect has dark hair rather than gray.

Grady said the suspect would have been unaccounted for on Wednesday night, likely between the hours of 6 and 7:30 p.m. The Suspect is in good physical shape and is believed to frequently run on the Rails-To-Trails system, he said.

Since the incident, the suspect may have changed his activity and/or behavior and his schedule by no longer running on the trails or even exercising around that time frame, Grady said. 

He added the suspect may have also changed his appearance since the incident.

Anyone with information is urged to call Vernon Detectives at 860-872-9126. Callers can remain anonymous, police said.

The Wednesday activity should be at about the same time, Grady said.

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