JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- The man who is accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a woman inside a St. Louis County Catholic Supply store is now charged in a separate sexually assault of an elderly woman in rural Jefferson County, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Thomas J. Bruce Mugshot

Thomas Bruce, 53, was taken into custody in connection with the murder of a woman at a West St. Louis County Catholic Supply store. Charges against Bruce are expected by the end of the day, according to St. Louis County PD. 

Police say Thomas Bruce, 53, was charged with burglary, kidnapping, assault, sexual abuse and harassment in a case where a 77-year-old woman was assaulted at her home in rural Jefferson County in September of 2018, two months prior to the alleged murder of 53-year-old Jamie Schmidt at the Catholic Supply on Manchester Road in west St. Louis County.

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Police say the woman and Bruce did not know each other and this appears to be a “stranger on stranger” assault.

According to police, the victim attacked at her home has identified Bruce as the person that assaulted her. The elderly victim was not seriously injured during the incident, police say. 

Police say Bruce knocked on the woman's door of her home and claimed to be a member of a service organization for veterans. When the woman asked Bruce to leave, he forced his way in the home, knocking the victim to the ground, according to the investigation.

Bruce then demanded the victim perform a sex act on him, police say. As this was happening, the victim's phone began to ring. The victim told Bruce that it was her husband calling to tell her that he was on his way home and Bruce threatened to kill the husband upon arrival, according to the investigation. Bruce then forced the victim into a bedroom, stole her cell phone and fled the scene, police say. 

The Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's office says the victim was able to identify Bruce after seeing his mugshot on a local news station. 

Bruce has a cash only bond of $500,000 in this case and being held without bond on 17 criminals counts including first-degree murder, sodomy and kidnapping in the alleged Catholic Supply store murders. 

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