O’FALLON, Mo. – A 21-year-old cable repairman from St. Charles sentenced to 75 years after being convicted of tying up a woman and sexually assaulting her at her own home in O’Fallon in December 2012.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that jurors deliberated for about an hour before convicting 22-year-old Michael Helderle of four felony counts.
Prosecutors said Helderle, who worked for Communications Unlimited, had been in the victim’s apartment in the 1000 block of Southernside Lane on December 4 as a Charter cable contract worker. He asked her out via a text that night. When it was reported to his company, he was fired.
The next day, the victim was video chatting with her boyfriend, who was in the Air Force and 1,700 miles away, when Helderle broken into her home.
The victim told police after Helderle grabbed her by the neck and threw her to the ground. He then handcuffed and tied her up, telling her if she moved she would strangle herself.
Police said Helderle placed an item in her mouth to quiet her and covered her head with a pillow. He then grabbed her cell phone and cash.
According to police, he fondled her upper body and sexually assaulting her.
The victim’s boyfriend called police and when they arrived to the scene and knocked on the door, Helderle took out a knife and put it on the victim’s throat to silence her.
He then ran out of the apartment by jumping from the second-floor balcony.
Police said they eventually got into the apartment and found the victim bound and gagged.
Authorities searched for a couple hours and eventually apprehended Helderle, who later admitted to breaking in and sexually assaulting the victim.
Police said Helderle, who worked for Communications Unlimited, had been in the victim’s apartment on Tuesday as a Charter cable contract worker.
Shortly after the incident, Charter officials released a statement voicing their displeasure.
“Charter recognizes that it is a privilege to be allowed into customers’ homes to install our services. Our customer’s safety is of utmost importance and precautions are taken seriously. We require criminal background checks on all in-home contractors prior to performing any work for Charter.”