Local News

Serial rapist suspected in Cumberland County attacks

Posted January 11, 2010 4:45 p.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2010 10:58 p.m. EST

— Authorities have created a task force to catch a man who has sexually assaulted at least seven Cumberland County women in their homes in recent weeks, Fayetteville police said Monday.

Police said they have investigated several similar burglary-assault cases, including one on a road off Raeford Road and one on Tryon Drive in a different part of the City. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and the Hope Mills Police Department have each reported one similar incident.

In each case, a black man, who is at least 5 feet 9 inches tall and has an average build, has broken into an apartment between 10 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. and assaulted a woman who was home alone, police said.

"The suspect, we have confirmed, is the same suspect in all of these cases," Theresa Chance, a spokeswoman for the Fayetteville Police Department, said. "He does not seem to stay in one place. He's traveled all over the city and county."

Chance couldn't say whether the assailant is stalking his victims, such as following them home from work. He has managed to get into some apartments that were locked, Chance said.

Shannon Cudd said that a woman who near her was attacked about three weeks ago by a man who came through her back door.

"She had unlocked the door to let her cat out, and he just busted in," Cudd said. "(He) wanted her money and broke her orbital bone and some ribs."

Cudd said the attack has her shaken and she's started double-bolting her door.

"I don't walk the dog at night anymore, and I limit my trips to the grocery store or anywhere else I need to go after dark," she said.

Chance urged the public to be cautious and to be alert to their surroundings.

"Especially with apartment complexes, people usually know their neighbors. They know cars that are parked in the parking lot. Be aware when you're going out of anybody, anything that looks suspicious," she said.

Police urged people to ensure doors and windows are locked when they go to bed and that they activate an alarm system if they have one. They also recommended keeping a cell phone handy in case of emergency and to call 911 if they notice any suspicious activity.

"We just got to look out for each other, and hopefully, we can get this guy caught," Cudd said.

Anyone with information about the assaults is asked to call Detective J. Rodriguez of the Fayetteville Police Department at 910-433-1856.