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Man Arrested For Attempted Rape, Robbery & Assault Of 98-Year-Old Woman

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Paul Earnest Howard Jr.

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RODGERS FORGE, Md. (WJZ)—Baltimore County Police have arrested a man they say robbed and attempted to rape a 98-year-old woman in her Rodgers Forge home.

Monique Griego has more on what led to the suspect’s arrest.

Police say it was tips from the public that helped track the guy down.

One day after his picture went public, Baltimore County Police arrested 50-year-old Paul Ernest Howard Jr.

Investigators say he coerced a 98-year-old woman into letting him into her home. Then police say he robbed, assaulted and tried to rape her.

“It could have been anybody. Obviously it’s terrifying,” a neighbor said.

Neighbors are on edge since the attack happened Saturday on Gaywood Road in the quiet community of Rodgers Forge.

“It’s sad that this happened to her. Kind of took advantage of her and how old she was. It’s very sad,” said Nick Hayden, neighbor.

Police say Howard came to the home twice, first posing as a repairman.

The woman turned down his services, but they say he returned hours later. That’s when the victim let Howard inside, and when she asked him to leave, he threw her down.

“It’s at this point he gets up and assaults her and leaves the location,” said Corp. John Wachter, Baltimore County Police.

The woman then used her medical alert system to call for help.

“We first got the call as a medical. Didn’t even go to the police department. When the fire department arrived, they found her lying on the floor,” Wachter said.

Detectives say once word of the attack got out, tips from the public are what led to Howard’s capture.

“It’s great to see a person like that get off the street. It’s definitely sick and not normal for something like that to happen,” said Nick Hayden, neighbor.

“It’s an opportunity for our neighborhood to come together and be more vigilant than ever,” one neighbor said.

Neighbors tell us the woman suffered a broken hip but is expected to be OK.

Police want to remind people everywhere to not let people in their home they don’t know.

Howard is being held without bail.

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