Suspect in mall attacks held on $2 million bond

After a search lasting three weeks, police arrest a Boise man.

kterhune@idahostatesman.comJune 6, 2013 

Gregory Lee Macho, 31, does not know either woman he is accused of attacking at the Boise Towne Square mall, prosecutors said at a Wednesday arraignment.

Macho, a Boise resident, faces four felony charges after police say he sexually assaulted one woman in the mall's parking lot on May 14, then ran over a second woman who was coming to her aid.

He remains jailed on $2 million bond. Defense attorneys unsuccessfully asked a judge Wednesday afternoon to set bond at only $100,000, saying Macho is the sole provider for his wife and two daughters.

Macho is not allowed to have contact with either victim, identified in court documents only by their initials. Prosecutors said they do not want the alleged attacker to know who the women are.

Macho's next court hearing is set for June 19.

He is charged with kidnapping, battery with intent to commit a serious felony, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm or disability, and destruction of evidence.

Police released security photos of the distinctive teal truck used in the attack in the days after the crime, and released a sketch of the suspect on May 31. Dozens of tips poured in, police said, and more evidence was uncovered leading to Macho's 1:30 a.m. arrest at his home Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Macho altered his truck by painting it and removing stickers and other identifying marks. The truck was seized, authorities said, and a teal Tonneau cover, one identifying mark that police pointed to during the search for the vehicle, was reportedly found at his work.

Investigators "contacted literally hundreds of people, followed dozens of leads and put in many long hours" putting together the case, Deputy Chief of Police William Bones said in a Wednesday news release. BPD spokeswoman Lynn Hightower stressed the major role that tips from citizens and businesses in the area played in Macho's arrest.

"There was really an extraordinary amount of community involvement in this case," she told the Statesman. "We often get tips on crimes, and that's a good thing. That's just the kind of community this is."

Along with citizen tips, area businesses reviewed their security footage and called in a multitude of leads to police, Hightower said. Police followed up on every tip that came in, she said.

"People understood that this case was extraordinary: It was violent, it was unprovoked, the victims were innocent, it occurred in a very public and busy place," she said. "People understood that that type of crime is rare, but they wanted to help."

Hightower declined to say whether police knew immediately that the attack had involved a sexual assault. That information was not released to the public until May 23, more than a week after the attack.

"In every single case, and this among them, what to release, how to release, when to release it, it is all actually strategic in hopes of… finding who's responsible and holding them accountable," she said.

The first woman attacked May 14 was getting into her car in the mall parking lot. Prosecutors said the attacker used his vehicle to block her car in, then pushed her into the car, where he choked and sexually assaulted her.

When the second woman heard the first woman crying, she approached the car and asked whether she needed help, interrupting the attack. The attacker then allegedly got in his pickup and swerved to hit the second woman as he fled from the lot, police said.

The second woman suffered serious injuries, including a compound fracture in one leg and a broken hip and pelvis, prosecutors said.

Macho's criminal history includes a 10-year prison sentence for a July 2012 conviction for grand theft. According to online court records, he was released in December 2012 after serving a period of retained jurisdiction - a prison-based treatment program that can lead to early release on probation if successfully completed.

Katie Terhune: 377-6219

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