Rape reported in West Tisbury
West Tisbury police are investigating a reported August 28 daytime rape of a woman hitchhiker by a man who may have been armed with a gun. The victim told police her attacker may have been armed when he picked her up and drove her to the residential dirt road off Old County Road, where the attack allegedly occurred.
The sexual assault took place on or about Aug. 28, according to police, but it was not immediately reported.
According to a press release issued by the West Tisbury Police Department on Sept. 10, a man driving a bright red, four-door, mid-90s sedan picked the woman up on State Road.
"The woman reportedly entered the car, after which the driver, an unknown male suspect, pulled a blanket from the back seat of the car and covered the woman's head," according to the police press release. "The suspect held the woman's head down and drove her to Oak Lane in West Tisbury where the assault took place. The woman indicated to the police that she saw the attacker sitting on a gun, which she described as silver."
Police provided a description of "a white male, late 30s, medium to heavy build, with short dark hair, unshaven, reddish-tan face, wearing blue jeans, a blue and red plaid/flannel shirt and wearing a blue Red Sox cap with a red logo and two red socks on the side."
West Tisbury police chief Beth Toomey was attending a class off-Island on Tuesday and unavailable for comment. Speaking in her stead, Sgt. Dan Rossi said the woman was left by the road after the attack.
Citing rape shield laws, Sgt. Rossi said the police would not release the woman's age, residence or any other identifying information, but he said she is not a student or a juvenile.
Sgt. Rossi said police could not be certain a gun was used in the attack. He said the victim thought she saw a gun, and it is a possibility.
Police did not provide an explanation as to why the woman waited more than one week to report the attack.
Following the report, police issued a general broadcast alerting Island police departments and distributed copies of the press release to residents of Oak Lane and nearby roadways, Sgt. Rossi said.
"We are actively working on different things," he said.
West Tisbury police asked that anyone who may have seen a vehicle or person meeting the reported description or with any information on the incident to call the West Tisbury Police Department at 508-693-0020.