LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - An arrest has been made in two reports of attempted rapes in South Lake Charles on Friday.
Both were in the vicinity of Country Club Road, according to Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso and Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon, who held a joint news conference Tuesday morning. Both attacks were thwarted when neighbors heard screams and responded.
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Mancuso said the first call was received around 7:30 a.m. Friday about an attempted rape on Leon Drive, just south of Country Club. Mancuso said a man attacked an older woman who was outside, but fled when a neighbor heard her screaming and intervened.
Mancuso said the crimes were particularly concerning because the women did not know their alleged attacker. He said that often makes it hard to identify a suspect.
Around 8 a.m., Lake Charles police responded to a similar call, Dixon said. The woman was outside putting out the trash. Again a neighbor heard screaming, responded and the suspect ran away.
This time, though, authorities were able to obtain a partial tag number on a white Kia Sorento through video. Witnesses also gave a "very good description" of the suspect, Dixon said.
"That victim went through some tremendous, tremendous trauma," Dixon said. "Thank God for that neighbor."
The car was found behind a residence on Flounder Drive, Mancuso said. The suspect, Richard Wayne Barras, lives on Flounder Drive.
Barras, 31, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree rape and is being held on $900,000 bond. Barras was on parole and has a criminal history, but his previous crimes have been more in the nature of burglary and theft, Dixon said.
When asked what job Barras held and what role he had in the community, Mancuso began to say Barras was a "career thief," before Dixon interjected and said Barras' role was "being an idiot."