Columbus women raped at workplaces, then kidnapped

Police believe the same man abducted two women from their shops in Worthington and Clintonville last month, raping them and forcing them to withdraw money from their banks.

On March 7, at a shop near Frederick's, a man posing as a customer grabbed the shop owner and raped her at knifepoint inside the store, Columbus police said. He then forced her to drive him to a Downtown bank and withdraw $500. He left her after getting the money.

According to Joan Frederick, who owns Backyard Experience, 3337 N. High St. in Clintonville, the woman has since closed the store and moved from her home.

On Monday, a man matching the same description attacked a store owner in Olde Worthington in a similar manner.

Click on the "Read More..." link below to read more of the story.

In both cases, the women were in their 50s and working alone in small specialty shops along High Street when the attacker came in about 10 or 10:30 a.m.

"Women up here are going crazy in their stores because they are all afraid,'' said Frederick. "Some of us have worked alone, and there aren't that many shoppers because there's too much seclusion on N. High Street.''

Detectives said the attacker traumatized the victims by writing down their home addresses and threatening to kill their families if they talked to police.

Lt. David Perkins of the Columbus Police Division said the attacker shows unusual brashness and violence.

"She's absolutely terrified because he copied down her personal information,'' Worthington Police Lt. Bob Oppenheimer said.

Columbus detectives met with shop owners in Clintonville after the attack there.

Police are advising women to have an employee or friend in their stores at all times.

OFCC PAC Commentary:
Columbus has the highest rate of reported rapes among the largest U.S. cities, federal crime statistics show.

One wonders if Columbus detectives advised these Clintonville store owners exercise their constitutional right to self-defense with a firearm, as this police chief did when businesses in his city were being robbed.

How long must we continue to witness the sickening victimization that occurs as a results from Ohio's ban on carrying a concealed firearm, and preventing a person her right to self-defense? How many more Ohio women must be forced to go into seclusion for fear of their lives? Why are the editors of Crain's Cleveland Business and the "Million Mom March's Lori O'Neill calling for the banning of concealed carry at work?

We keep on saying it: Every day that Ohio's Republican leadership waits to pass concealed carry reform increases the defenseless victim list in our state, and forces otherwise law-abiding citizens into making a choice between facing felony arrest or being unable to defend themselves. This simply should not be.

Click here to read the entire story in the Columbus Dispatch (subscription site - paid access only).

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