Police name suspect in assault, robbery

Saturday, November 17, 2007 | 3:45 p.m. CST; updated 4:45 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

COLUMBIA — Police issued a warrant for a Columbia man in connection with an assault, attempted kidnapping and robbery Friday evening.

The suspect, 39-year-old James S. Pitucha, is wanted on suspicion of second-degree assault and attempted kidnapping, police said.

The incident took place at about 5:20 p.m. Thursday, when a man assaulted a 33-year-old female in a northeast Columbia neighborhood. The victim was waiting in her parked car for a friend at 1100 Woodland Springs Court, Sgt. Shelley Jones said.

The victim was approached by a man asking for directions, who then struck the victim repeatedly in the face and choked her, police said. When the victim’s friend approached, the suspect fled.

The victim was bruised and had facial and neck lacerations. She was treated on the scene by medics.

An auto theft that occurred minutes afterward at 3200 Penn Terrace may be related, Jones said.

Police said Pitucha should be considered dangerous. Anyone with additional information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 875-8477.

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