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Woman grabbed and choked by stranger near Potomac Mills complex in Woodbridge

A woman walking to her car near the Potomac Mills shopping complex in Woodbridge was attacked by a man who tried to force her into the back seat of her car, according to Prince William County police.

Police said the 34-year-old Lorton woman left her job at the complex around 9:30 p.m. Thursday and headed to a parking lot in the area of Potomac Mills Circle and Nazarene Way.

As she stood outside her vehicle, a man she did not know walked up and asked her for directions. Police said the man grabbed her and began to choke her. The two struggled and fell to the ground, as the man continued to choke her, authorities said. He also demanded her car keys and tried to force her into the back seat.

The man was unarmed and fled after the woman fought with him, according to police spokesman Jonathan Perok. Police said the victim suffered minor injuries but did not require hospitalization.

Authorities used a police dog to search for the man, but they were unable to find him. There were no known witnesses to the attack and no surveillance footage from nearby stores that could help identify a suspect, Perok said.

The attacker was described as a thin Hispanic man between 20 and 25 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 150 pounds, with short black hair. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt, dark-colored pants and a black beanie style cap.

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Julie Zauzmer is a local news reporter.



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