Local News

Fayetteville Police: Rapist Linked to Several Attacks

Posted February 1, 2008 3:07 p.m. EST
Updated February 1, 2008 6:48 p.m. EST

— Fayetteville police say they believe the same man is responsible for three rapes in the northern part of the city since 2006, though they do not have anyone in custody.

Authorities said Friday they were only recently able to link the same assailant in the three cases, all within a one-mile radius of North Ramsey Street. Investigators did not want to talk about exactly how they made the connection, however.

Police said the first rape occurred Aug. 23, 2006, between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. at Oates and Ramsey streets, where a 23-year-old jogger was attacked from behind and forced into a wooded area.

The assailant in that attack was wearing a hooded sweatshirt with an Orange County Chopper logo on the front, authorities said Friday.

Another rape occurred Feb. 12, 2007, between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. when the assailant broke into a 45-year-old woman's home at the King's Grant Condominiums on Bubble Creek Court, near the scene of the first rape.

Then, sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 4:15 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2007, police believe the same man broke into an apartment at the Heather Ridge Apartments and raped a 21-year-old woman.

"It's pretty scary," said Tiffany Wagner, a resident at Heather Ridge, who said she knows the victim.

"She was in her apartment sleeping, and somebody comes in and drags her out of bed," she added. "It's a scary thought. He definitely does need to be caught."

In each case, police said, the assailant watched the victims and knew their routines and schedules.

"We believe that the suspect uses at least a minimal amount of surveillance and preparation when selecting the victims," Fayetteville Police Det. Chuck Dew said.

Police stepped up patrols in the area after the 2006 attack, and some residents told WRAL News they had been aware of what had been going on in the area.

Authorities said it was when they were able to link the crimes that they realized they had a repeat offender, and they said they want to alert women in the area and urge them to use precaution. Read police safety tips.

Investigators stressed that rapes are not on the rise in Fayetteville, noting the number of rapes reported in the city last year was 60, a 4.8 percent decrease from 2006.

"We'd like to reassure the public that the Fayetteville Police Department has taken every step necessary to find this person responsible for these crimes," Lt. Alex Thompson said.

The same man is also responsible for at least one peeping Tom incident in Harnett County in 2004, police also said Friday.

The Harnett County Sheriff's Office received multiple reports of a peeping Tom in the Whispering Creek Subdivision, but Fayetteville police could only link their suspect to one report.

Investigators are looking for a white or Hispanic man with close-cut or shaven dark hair in his early 20s to early 30s. He stands 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 3 inches tall, is of an average to medium build and is slightly athletic and muscular.

Police said Friday they are also investigating a sexual assault that occurred Jan. 26 in the Kings Grant condominiums, but they are unsure if the perpetrator is the same man in the other three cases.

In that case, the assailant broke into a home and sexually assaulted a 29-year-old woman. He was wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt with Notre Dame written on it.

Police ask anyone with information about any of the crimes to contact Crime Stoppers at 910-483-8477. More information on safety precautions and how to protect yourself is available by calling the police department's Crime Prevention Unit at 910-433-1033.