Police: Man sexually assaults Monroe Walmart employee in the store

Credit: Monroe PD

Pedro Julio Rucci

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by WCNC.com Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 31 at 12:09 PM

MONROE, N.C. -- Police have arrested a man who they say sexually assaulted a Monroe Walmart employee inside the store.

Pedro Julio Rucci, 53, was pulled over by Monroe police for an expired tag and was cited for carrying a concealed weapon a mere 17 hours before officials say he sexually assaulted the 40-year-old woman on Wednesday around 5 p.m. in the store's tire section.

Officers had no evidence that he planned to use the gun found in the car in the sexual assault later that day.

"He had some planning in this. He had picked out his assault location and lured her specifically to that spot," said Monroe Police Department Sgt. Mike Smith.  "[He] told her there was a spill located in the tire loop section.  She followed him there.  Once there he further directed her to an enclosed storage area."

The woman was able to escape and told her co-workers, who then called 911.

Rucci was charged with sexual battery and resist, delay and obstruction of justice.  He was transported Wednesday to the Union County jail but had bonded out by Thursday afternoon.

Walmart shoppers were stunned that this happened during the afternoon rush.

"There are a lot of people around here, usually, but there is a lot of evil in the world, so I can believe it," said shopper Emily Rhodes.

Rucci is scheduled to appear in court on March 20.

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