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Sharp eye and keen mind paid off

There was something oddly familiar about the man in the blue and grey sweatsuit exercising in a parking lot just south of Brigham Young University.

A 28-year-old engineering student on his way to take a test Monday evening thought he'd seen the guy somewhere before. But a passing stare didn't jar his memory. Maybe he didn't know him after all. Still, the man seemed out of place."It looked like he was stretching out to go jogging," the student told reporters Thursday on the condition his name not be used. "I just thought that was a weird place to stretch out."

Police say the man wasn't out for an evening run. They believe he had more sinister intentions. And they say if the engineering student hadn't called police, another woman might have been the victim of a sex crime.

Provo police arrested Luis Alonso Rivera, 38, late Monday. He is being held in the Utah County Jail for investigation of aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping and sexual assault. Bail is set at $50,000 cash.

No charges have been filed against Rivera, who also is being held for the Immigration and Naturalization Service for allegedly being in the United States illegally. Police said Rivera, who along with his wife and two children are from Honduras, has lived in Provo since September.

Police say a man attacked and raped a BYU student Nov. 30 as she was walking home from church. Investigators believe the same man tried to abduct another student Jan. 13. Both incidents occurred just off campus. BYU Police Lt. Brad Barber said the victim of a Nov. 23 abduction attempt on campus near Maeser Hill has identified the suspect in a photo lineup.

The engineering student said news reports made him aware of the rapes and assaults. He said he might have seen a composite sketch of the suspect printed in newspapers and shown on television news.

He said he saw the man in the jogging suit three different times during a 40-minute period while going back and forth between the campus testing center and the parking lot. "He kept looking around to see if someone was looking at him," he said. The student said he never saw the man approach any women.

The student called police from an emergency phone atop Maeser Hill. BYU and Provo police staked out the parking lot at 800 N. 400 East before questioning the man and arresting him.

Barber said residents are "paramount" to helping police solve crimes.

"We can't be everywhere and see everything," he said, adding that residents know best who should and shouldn't be in their neighborhoods.

Rapes and sexual assaults are rare on the BYU campus. The last reported rape was in 1992. Police investigate four or five sexual assaults - forcible fondling or grabbing - a year.

"These incidents are far and few between and are usually resolved quickly when the do occur," Barber said.

The engineering student doesn't consider himself a hero for helping police make an arrest in the most recent cases. He credits the victims for giving police good descriptions of their attacker.

But "it felt good to do something to help out," he conceded.

The student, who initially hesitated to notify police because he thought they might not take him seriously, urged others to report suspicious circumstances.

"If you see someone (suspicious), call," he said. "If it's not the guy, you're not going to be made to feel stupid."