Man gets 14 years for trying to sexually assault woman, stealing her SUV

Surveillance video captured the moments before a man sexually assaulted a woman while she worked in Little Italy.

SAN DIEGO — A man who ambushed a janitorial worker at a Little Italy coffee shop at knifepoint, tried to sexually assault her and stole her SUV, was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in state prison.

Christopher Merron, 28, was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

The attack occurred around 4:30 a.m. last Oct. 14 as the victim was cleaning the coffee shop in the 1700 block of India Street. Merron pushed the woman into a back room, took her car keys and threatened her with a knife, according to police and prosecutors.

Following a struggle, she was able to break free and run out of the building, said San Diego police Lt. Jason Weeden.

The assailant fled in the woman’s 1998 GMC Jimmy. Merron was arrested in Mission Valley the next day and the victim’s SUV was recovered, Weeden said.

Merron pleaded guilty in January to assault with intent to commit a sex offense, robbery and sexual battery charges and admitted a knife-use sentencing enhancement allegation. Other charges, including kidnapping with the intent to commit a sex offense, attempted oral copulation, false imprisonment with force and auto theft, were dismissed at sentencing.

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