Preston E. Thomas

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND)- Decatur police arrested a 34-year old Decatur man after they say he is believed to be involved in two separate attacks of women in Downtown Decatur. 

According to police, the first incident happened on Saturday, October 2nd around 6:15 p.m. Police say a female walked outside the Decatur Club, where she was attending a wedding, to retrieve something from her vehicle. As she walked back inside and up the stairs, the victim was followed by a black male, believed to be 20-25, 6'2" and thin, wearing a gray shirt and skinny jeans. Officials say, once on the second floor, the suspect pulled the female into an empty room, propped a chair up against the door, and grabbed her by the arms, "pulling and pushing her around."

Police say the victim was able to get away from the suspect and ran to the women's bathroom, where another female happened to be present. The other female yelled at the male, and he ran out of the building and got into a gray or silver Impala.

Police say in another incident, on Monday, October 4, around 10:00 a.m., a female was in her vehicle pulling out of a parking spot on Merchant Street when a black male suspect, driving a Impala, got out of his vehicle and walked in front of her vehicle, causing her to stop.

The female victim told police she rolled her window down partially, and the suspect asked her where Robbie's Grill was. She told him it was right behind him, and he said he meant the Café. The female, at this point, decided to roll her window all the way down as she didn't feel threatened. Police say the suspect immediately reached into her vehicle as soon as she rolled the window down and grabbed her inner thigh near her groin.

She immediately rolled her window up, trapping the suspect's arm, and began honking the horn and driving forward. She rolled the window back down so he could escape, pulled to the stop sign, and stopped. Police say that the female exited her vehicle and yelled at the suspect that she was calling 911, as she believed he was going to approach another female she saw standing in the area. The suspect then left in the Impala.

Police noted that the suspect and vehicle descriptions given in these two incidents were very similar to that of Preston E. Thomas, 34, of Decatur, who was wanted for several offenses related to domestic violence.

Police positively identified Thomas as the suspect involved in the Decatur Club incident, and an additional arrest warrant was obtained for Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint on Tuesday, October 5th.

Officials say the investigation into the Merchant Street incident is still ongoing, and additional charges may be forthcoming.

On Wednesday, October 6th, at 11:20 p.m., Thomas was located and arrested after a foot pursuit at Jasper and Wood. At the time of his arrest, Thomas was reported to be driving a stolen vehicle.

He is currently incarcerated in the Macon County Jail reference numerous charges stemming from a variety of incidents.

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