PORTLAND, Maine — Police are investigating a sexual assault that occurred near the Back Cove path on Monday morning.

A 30-year-old woman was returning to her vehicle after a jog when the assault took place, according to Portland City Spokeswoman Nicole Clegg.

After the woman got into her vehicle, which was parked in the Preble Street parking lot, she realized a man was in the passenger seat, according to Clegg.

The man began to sexually assault her, but the victim was able to sound the car horn and the attacker fled the scene on foot, Clegg said.

The suspect is described as a heavyset white male in his 50s who is balding, has poor hygiene and may have tattoos on both forearms, Clegg said.

Police have begun stepping up patrols in the area, Clegg said. Drivers are encouraged to lock their cars and take the keys with them while using the trail.

Police believe several people in the parking lot witnessed the attack, and are looking for clues to identify the suspect, Clegg said.

Anyone who witnessed the attack or saw the man is asked to call 874-8575. Mobile phone users can text the work “GOTCHA” plus their message to 274637 to leave an anonymous tip, or go to www.portland-police.com and clicking on “Submit an Anonymous Crime Tip.”

To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.

Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective...