by: Dave Faherty Updated:
SALISBURY, N.C. - Salisbury police have arrested a man, accusing him of sexually assaulting a real estate agent Tuesday.
Police were called by a real estate company Tuesday afternoon after a female real estate agent said she was sexually assaulted.
The victim told officers she made contact with 49-year-old Brian Cooper on Monday about buying a house. She made an appointment for Tuesday and said Cooper met her at her office around 10 a.m.
From there, she said the two drove to a house at 1614 Secret Garden Court. Once they were inside the house, she said Cooper grabbed her around the neck and started choking her. She said he then pulled out a knife and told her if she did not do what he said he would kill her.
He then sexually assaulted her, according to police.
Matt Creech was painting down the street and saw them but had no idea anything was wrong.
"(It) shocked me,” Creech said. “I couldn't believe it. “I know people are crazy but I didn't know it was going on right beside us."
After the assault, the victim said Cooper told her to take him to the other home he was supposed to see that day. According to police, the victim told Cooper she needed to call her office because if she did not they would think something was wrong.
She said he threatened her not to tell anyone.
Police said she called the office and the company has a predetermined code word to say if they are in distress and she gave it to the person in the office.
After the phone call, police said the victim took Cooper to the home on Trantham Lane where he again produced a knife and again started assaulting the woman.
Patricia Rhyne lives next to the home and is worried about female realtors showing homes alone.
"You can put yourself in a bad position by doing that because you don't know now," Rhyne said.
Minutes later, police said a company agent arrived, knocked on the door and walked in, not knowing what was going on. Officers said the victim immediately left the house and Cooper rode with the other agent back to the office.
The victim got into her car and called 911 and told them about what had just happened to her.
Cooper had already left the realty business before officers arrived, but warrants were issued for his arrest.
Cooper was arrested at his home around 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Local Realtor Vonzie Everson said realtors train to avoid dangerous situations even having more than one realtor show a home.
"It was really devastating and a wake-up call to all of us in the real estate business," Everson said.
He was charged with one count of first-degree rape, one count of attempted first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sexual assault, one count of first-degree kidnapping and one count of felonious restraint. He was placed in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $1.5 million bond.
Cooper is scheduled to make his first court appearance Thursday morning.
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