Woman brutally attacked when man asked to borrow phone - WFSB 3 Connecticut

West Haven woman brutally attacked when man asked to borrow phone

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MIchael Cooper was arrested Wednesday. (West Haven police photo) MIchael Cooper was arrested Wednesday. (West Haven police photo)

A West Haven woman was brutally attacked in her own home by a man she didn't know.

Michael Cooper, 30, of New Haven was sitting on the steps at a residence on Nonquit Street on Wednesday when the female homeowner returned home from work, police said.

According to police, Cooper told her he was waiting for a cab, so she went inside. But then he knocked on her door and asked to use her phone.

"As she's going to get the phone he attacks her and the assault begins from there," said Sgt. Dave Tammaro of the West Haven Police Department.

Police said Cooper grabbed her in a choke hold until she lost consciousness. When she woke up he was pouring a bleach-like cleaner on her face and body. The victim's pants and underwear were pulled down to her ankles.

"I've lived here 12 years, I've never seen anything," neighbor Miguel Jimenez told Eyewitness News. "I've never seen anything like this at all."

He threatened to kill her then took off in her car in broad daylight, police said. The victim was treated at the hospital with no life-threatening injuries.

Police tracked down the car in New Haven on Whalley Avenue. There was a short chase.

"During the pursuit, the vehicle struck a Connecticut State Police cruiser," Tammaro said. 

Cooper got away on foot, police said.

Police said they spent Wednesday speaking with neighbors and following leads. Just before 7 p.m. near the neighborhood where the attack happened, a West Haven officer saw someone who looked like Cooper, so he approached him.

"Detectives were talking to witnesses and trying to gather more information," said Tammaro. "They recognized the guy who fit the description. They walked up and started talking to him. They detained him and on this person was the victim's identification."

The officer knew it was Cooper because he had a bad cut on his face. Cooper asked the officer for directions when he approached him. There was a struggle, but the officer was able to take Cooper into custody.

Cooper, who has lengthy criminal history in New Haven, was charged with home invasion, second-degree strangulation, and robbery among other charges. He was arraigned at New Haven Superior Court on Thursday.

In court, the judge raised his bond to $750,000. 

Neighbors were shocked this incident happened on what they called a quiet street.

"Everybody seems to get along real nice," Jimenez said. "Most people around here stay to themselves. They're very quiet people."

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