UPDATE: Tips lead to arrest of attempted rape suspect - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Tips lead to arrest of attempted rape suspect

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Photos of suspect provided by the Chattanooga Police Department. Photos of suspect provided by the Chattanooga Police Department.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: More than a dozen tips led to the arrest of the man accused of following a woman into her apartment and attacking her.

Thomas Lee Carr is charged with attempted rape. Court documents said he tried to rape a woman a block from UTC's campus.

Channel 3 got a look at Carr's criminal record and all we found were traffic violations and a theft charge from Florida.

Court documents said the woman's roommate walked in during the attack and scared him off.

Melissa Materia calls Douglas Heights a safe apartment complex and having courtesy officers there comforts her.

"That does make me feel a lot safer knowing that they are here just in case something does happen," Materia said.

Chattanooga police, Douglas Heights, and UTC sent out alerts telling people about the attempted rape and the search for the man responsible.

Alex Dunn lives with his girlfriend at the apartment complex.

"She's horrified. She's already really adamant about locking our doors and what not. I'm sure she's going to be twice as adamant at this point," Dunn said.

Police wouldn't say where or how they captured Thomas Carr.

According to court documents, Carr’s coworkers helped police make an arrest less than 24 hours after the crime.

While several people Channel 3 spoke with said the apartment building is secure, they tell us there's a bigger issue that needs to be fixed.

"A lot of people go through it. There's always people waiting at the door when you go in. Hard to tell who's bad and who's good," Dunn said.

Dunn hopes that can be addressed, but until then, he's thankful police made an arrest quickly.

Channel 3 asked Douglas Heights if they plan to review their safety procedures.

A manager said they've looked at everything to make sure the building is properly secured and that they may add more security.

An email obtained by Channel 3 shows that managers told residents that courtesy officers will be patrolling more frequently. They'll also have extra security starting on Thursday.

As for Carr, he'll appear in front of a judge later this month.


UPDATE: Chattanooga police have arrested the suspect in an attempted rape from Tuesday afternoon. 

Thomas Lee Carr, 28,  was taken into custody Wednesday morning and charged with attempted rape.

The arrest affidavit says the suspect followed the victim into the apartment building on Douglas Street and forced his way into her apartment.

There, he attempted to take off her clothing while attempting to remove his own. A roommate scared the suspect away.

Video surveillance in the apartment building provided police with useful photos of the suspect, which were shared on Channel 3 and other Chattanooga media outlets. Posts shared on social media helped police narrow down a suspect pool and Carr was later identified in a lineup.

"I want to thank the numerous community members who provided tips that helped Chattanooga Police Officers quickly identify, locate and arrest this dangerous man," said SVU Sergeant Scott Bales. "Cooperation and willingness to help others is what makes our city a safer place for everyone."


PREVIOUS STORY: Police at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga alerted students via text message Tuesday afternoon after a man attempted to rape a woman near the UTC campus.

The alert described the rape suspect's appearance as a white male in his 20's with a thin build, last seen traveling on foot away from campus.

It also described the attempted assault as happening in a residential area about a block from the south side of the campus.


PREVIOUS STORY: Chattanooga police are looking for a man who they say attempted to rape a woman on Tuesday in the MLK Neighborhood.

Police say the suspect followed the victim into her home and attacked her.

Police say he attempted to rape her and then ran from the scene.

The suspect is described as a white male with short blonde hair. He was wearing khaki pants and a navy blue tank top.

READ MORE | UPDATE: Chattanooga police searching for North Shore rape suspect

If you know who the suspect is or have any information about this case, please call the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-698-2525.

Stay with WRCBtv.com for updates to this story.

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