Columbia man arrested on birthday on suspicion of burglary

Saturday, June 12, 2010 | 2:35 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Lathaniel Johnson, born June, 11, 1986, spent his 24th birthday in jail.

Johnson was arrested early Friday morning on suspicion of first-degree sexual misconduct, first-degree burglary, second-degree burglary and property damage, according to a release from the Columbia Police Department.

Police apprehended Johnson as he was trying to force his way into an apartment at The Links apartment complex at 5000 Clark Lane shortly after 3 a.m.

According to the news release, Johnson and another man approached two unidentified women at El Rancho on 1014 E. Broadway at about 1:30 a.m. and sat down at their table.

Shortly thereafter, the women left the restaurant and parted ways. Johnson followed one of them south on Ninth Street and pushed her into a doorway, the release said. He attempted to sexually assault the 21-year-old woman, but she freed herself and called for help, according to the release.

The victim reported the incident to police and provided them with "enough information to identify Johnson as the suspect," the release said.

At 3:09 a.m. officers responded to a call from a 62-year-old woman who said that a man was breaking into her apartment at The Links. When officers arrived on the scene, they said Johnson was attempting to break into a second apartment after failing to gain entry through two windows of the caller's home.

Johnson said he was there at the request of a female resident, but officers questioned the woman and she said she didn't know him.

On Saturday, Johnson's bond was set at $5,500, with bond for the first-degree burglary charge still to be determined.

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