Brave neighbor helps remove suspected sexual predator from DC streets

A neighbor alerted by two women screaming followed a suspected burglar Monday, leading to the arrest of a man now charged with sexually assaulting two women in two other break-ins on the same street in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of D.C.

All the break-ins happened on the 1600 block of Irving Street NW. Police said the suspect broke a window on a rear-door to get into a home Monday around 3:30 p.m., encountering two women who screamed and began to run.

“An alert neighbor heard those screams. This neighbor exited his home and confronted the suspect in the rear alley as he attempted to flee on one of the victim’s bikes,” said D.C. police Chief Peter Newsham.

Police said the neighbor continued to tail the suspect, even though the suspect said he had a gun and tossed a brick at his pursuer.

Newsham said the Good Samaritan pointed the suspect out to police, who arrested Lester Wilkerson, 58, of Northwest.

“This is a suspect with a lengthy criminal history, including previous burglary and sexual assault charges, who was on active supervision,” Newsham said.

Court records show that Wilkerson was sentenced to 10 years in 2007 for burglary and kidnapping. His record in D.C. goes back to 1982.

Wilkerson is accused of break-ins on the Mount Pleasant block on May 21 and May 23. In each incident, a woman was robbed and sexually assaulted.

Wilkerson is facing two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, three counts of burglary and assault with a dangerous weapon — the brick.

Newsham and Mayor Muriel Bowser praised the neighbor who followed the suspect, leading to his arrest.

“We are extremely grateful for him,” Bowser said. “I think you can imagine the fear the residents of these blocks had,” she said.

Bowser said that residential and commercial security cameras play a critical role in solving these types of crimes. Residents and businesses are eligible for rebates from the D.C. government for installing security cameras and registering them with the police department.

“Currently we have 15,000 cameras in our network and we add one each and every day,” Bowser said.

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