An ex-convict has been charged after he abducted a 16-year-old girl at knifepoint outside an Antioch Walmart Tuesday night and proceeded to sexually assault her in a nearby hotel parking lot, police said.
After 19 hours of pouring over surveillance tapes and interviewing witnesses, police were able to track down 35-year-old Anthony Cerone at his apartment on the 500 block of Anita Avenue, where he was taken into custody.
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Cerone has been charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated armed violence and three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, according to police.
The 16-year-old victim spotted Cerone pacing back and forth outside the Walmart as she entered the store at approximately 9 p.m. Tuesday and as she walked back to her car 20 minutes later, Cerone forced her into her vehicle at knife-point, police said.
He then ordered the victim to drive to the rear parking lot of the Best Western Regency Inn, 350 W. Route 173, where he sexually assaulted her, police said.
"There's no connection whatsoever between he and the victim," said Antioch Police Chief Craig Somerville.
After the assault, Cerone forced the victim to drive back to an area near the Walmart and drop him off at a church parking lot across the street with a warning not to tell anyone what happened, according to police.
"He threatened to kill her," Somerville said. "You think about a victim that every time shes goes to her car, anytime she goes shopping, it's going to be in her mind. It's a nightmare."
The victim was able to provide police with a description of Cerone including details of a unique tattoo on his chest and a second on his neck that read "Dominic" in cursive writing, Somerville said.
Authorities searched through police records, sex offender registries and surveillance tapes recorded in the Walmart area and were eventually able to link Cerone to the description.
"He had a unique tattoo on his throat," Somerville said. "The vehicle also matched the video tapes we had."
Police arrived at Cerone's home and took him into custody at 6:50 p.m. Wednesday. They also found his vehicle in the apartment complex's parking lot, which contained evidence of the crime, police said.
Cerone, who has an extensive criminal history involving weapons charges and violent crimes, appeared in court Thursday where bail was set at $1 million.
The victim was hospitalized briefly following the assault, but was not injured, according to police.
"She handled herself with a level of maturity and calm far beyond her years," Somerville said. "No one should have to endure this kind of nightmare. This was a cold and calculated act."