HOUSTON — Police say a sex assault suspect posed as a cop when he flashed a badge and offered to help a woman with a flat tire in west Houston last week.
Instead, Francisco Jose Ugarte raped her, according to Houston police.
The 31-year-old woman was heading home from work around 1:30 a.m. last Thursday when her tire went flat. She pulled into the Exxon on Dairy Ashford near the Katy Freeway to get help.
"A white male flashes what she believes was some type of law enforcement badge and tells her she shouldn’t be driving in that condition," said HPD Sgt. Art Mejia with the Major Offenders Division.
When the woman told Ugarte she’d had at least one drink, he asked for her ID.
"Grabs the ID and said, ‘You live close by. I’ll tell you what, I won’t take you to jail. But I’ll take you home,’" Sgt. Mejia said.
Police say during the ride he said things like, "I’m a police officer and you shouldn’t be out this late. Bad things happened during these times."
Instead of taking the woman home, Ugarte took her to a parking garage.
"Has her exit the vehicle and demand that she take her clothing off where he sexually assaulted her," Sgt. Mejia said.
The victim then walked to a gas station and asked for help.
Ugarte’s neighbors were shocked by his arrest. The 46-year-old lives in an upscale Cinco Ranch home in Katy. And he has a wife and two children.
"He has everything you can ask for in this world on the outside, but the things in this world is not what fills your heart and your soul," said Beth Gleason. "Has the world come to a place where you can’t trust anybody?"
Houston police said the suspect’s photo will not be released in case more possible victims come forward. They want to use his mug shot in a photo lineup.
They did, however, describe him as a Hispanic male about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing about 175 pounds. He has a light complexion, straight dark hair, a medium build and was not clean shaven.
HPD on Wednesday released a picture of the suspect’s vehicle, a maroon 2008 BMW sedan, and encouraged other victims to come forward.
Anyone with information can call Houston Police Sex Crimes at 713-308-1180.