OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City police have arrested a man for allegedly sexually assaulting an E-Z Mart convenience store clerk Tuesday morning in the 4500 block of S. I-35 Service Road.
Fortunately, a small device she wore around her neck helped alert police.
They said the suspect inadvertently pulled the alarm.
We're told the female clerk, who's in her mid 20s, was not seriously injured but she was hysterical when police arrived.
"It makes me mad that someone would even do something like that," Nicolas Scott said, who was a customer in the E-Z Mart, hours after the attack. "How can you even think that cruelly to be able to do that to a woman?"
Bryan Talley was a customer after the attack as well, and wonders what he could have done if he were there at the time.
"Could you have made a difference in the whole situation?" he said. "Makes you think about it at the end of the day."
Police say 35-year-old Joab Golson made a couple of visits to the store Monday night before attempting to rob it around 2 a.m. Tuesday.
When the clerk said she couldn't open the register, Golson allegedly grabbed her, put her in a choke hold and dragged her back to the store's bathroom.
"She did report that she fought the whole way, tried to get him off of her," OKC Police Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow said. "He sexually assaulted her."
The clerk told police she thought she'd be raped and killed.
Police said, during the struggle, Golson accidentally set off a panic alarm which was a chain that he ripped off the clerk's neck.
"Obviously, he probably wasn't aware of what this was around her neck," Wardlow said. "It was simply during the struggle that he did rip this chain off of her neck that ended up being a panic alarm that notified police to go to this store."
A security guard told police he saw Golson run into a motel across the street.
Police arrested him soon after.
Scott and Talley said they won't let the crime keep them from being future customers.
"You can't live in fear," Scott said. "You can't be afraid of things like that, otherwise they have control over you."
"It just happens," Talley said. "You can't live life worrying about worries, you know?"
The E-Z Mart corporate office did not return our calls.
Golson was booked for kidnapping, attempted rape, attempted robbery and sexual battery.
Court records show he has been previously convicted of assault and battery, burglary and shooting with intent to kill.