Police: Realtor used code word to tip off coworker about sexual assault

Published: May. 15, 2014 at 6:41 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2014 at 2:33 AM EDT
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49-year-old Brian Harold Cooper
49-year-old Brian Harold Cooper

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - A man was arrested in Salisbury on Tuesday after he is accused of sexually assaulting a real estate agent showing him a home.

Salisbury Police say 49-year-old Brian Harold Cooper, of Granite Quarry, was arrested and charged with attempted rape, one count of first degree kidnapping and two counts of first degree sexual offense by Salisbury Police.

Wednesday, he was charged with an additional count of first degree rape and felonious restraint by the Rowan County Sheriff's Office.

On Thursday, Cooper was given a court-appointed attorney and remains behind bars because he failed to make bond.

WBTV is choosing not to reveal the location of the real estate agency in an effort to protect the identity of the victim.

The victim told police that she had contacted Cooper the day before about buying a house, and that they agreed to meet at her office at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

They drove together to the home at 1614 Secret Garden Court.

Once inside the residence Cooper grabbed her around the neck and started choking her, according to the news release from the Salisbury Police Department.

He pulled out a knife and told her if she did not do what he said he would kill her before sexually assaulted her, police say.

He then told her to take him to the other home he was supposed to see that day.

She told him she needed to call her office because if she did not they would think something was wrong.

He threatened her again not to tell anyone.

She called the office and told them to get the information for the 170 Trantham Lane, Granite Quarry residence.

The company has a predetermined code word to say if they are in distress and she gave it out to the person at her office.

They then went to the Trantham Lane address and he again produced a knife and again started to assault her.

Minutes later, a company agent arrived and knocked on the door and walked in not knowing what was going on.

The victim immediately left out of the residence and Cooper rode with the other agent back to the office.

The victim got into her car and immediately called 911 and told them what had just occurred.  

Cooper had already left the business before officers arrived.

Before the arrest, WBTV was able to obtain a letter from the Salisbury/Rowan Realtor Association (SRRA) saying the victim is a female real estate agent.

The letter warns SRRA members about the assault.

"Please be aware that one of our Realtor members was assaulted while showing a house today," the SRRA warned on Tuesday afternoon. "The police are actively looking for the suspect."

The letter names Cooper and says he "sounds like a legitimate buyer."

According to the SRRA, Cooper claims to have a brother who is a deputy sheriff and someone died and left him money to buy a house.

"Please know that this person met the agent AT HER OFFICE.  Other agents in that office SAW this individual," the SRRA warned.

"If you are going to show a house, please let someone know where you are going and who will be with you.  If your office has an ALERT CODE, please make sure that everyone is aware of the procedure."

Cooper is being held in the Rowan County Detention Center under a $1,500,000 bond.

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