Glendale police seek suspect in series of sexual assaults

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Sketch of suspect in Oct. 29 sexual assault By Jennifer Thomas Sketch of suspect in Oct. 29 sexual assault By Jennifer Thomas
Suspect sketches in Aug. 20 and Aug. 23 sexual assaults By Jennifer Thomas Suspect sketches in Aug. 20 and Aug. 23 sexual assaults By Jennifer Thomas

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Glendale police are searching for a suspect who sexually assaulted a woman last week and is believed to have committed two similar attacks in August.

Police said a woman was walking through an apartment complex near Maryland and 47th avenues just before 3 a.m. on Oct. 29 when an unknown male approached and asked her for a cigarette.

When the woman gave him one, the suspect grabbed her from behind, held her by her hair and shoulders, and sexually assaulted her.

Sgt. Jay O'Neill said the victim called for help and the suspect ran off when someone in the complex came to her aid.

Detectives believe the suspect is responsible for two previous sexual assaults that occurred in the same area.

Police said a woman walked a friend out to his vehicle around 1 a.m. on Aug. 20 and was heading back to her apartment when an unknown male suspect grabbed her, pulled her down into the gravel landscaping and attempted to sexually assault her. She was able to fight him off and he fled on foot through the apartment complex.

Three days later, a woman was walking to her apartment at the same complex around 5:30 a.m. when an unknown male grabbed her from behind and threw her down onto the gravel landscaping. The suspect attempted to sexually assault her, but he fled after two males heard the woman's screams and came out of their apartment to help.

"It's scary. It's really scary," said apartment resident Josephine Hernandez. "And then three in one apartment complex? That's outrageous."

O'Neill said while the suspect descriptions have varied slightly, sex crimes detectives feel the three incidents are related.

The suspect in the most recent incident is described as a Hispanic male, 20 to 25 years old, 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall and 135 to 150 pounds, wearing black basketball shorts, a black T-shirt and black Nike shoes with a white swoosh on the side.

In all of the assaults the suspect is described as having dark, spiky hair and protruding eyes.

"We think it's the same guy in all these cases," Officer Tracey Breeden said.

Police have released sketches of the suspect in each attack.

Breeden said detectives have found a possibly related burglary incident that occurred just before the most recent sexual assault in the same complex. The suspect description was very similar.

"I'm not scared of anything, but I am upset," said resident Elexis Sanchez. "I don't like staying inside like that because men decide to do something and ruin some other woman's life for the rest of her life. I don't like it."

Detectives do not have any leads in this case and are asking for the public's help identifying the suspect or suspects.

"Somebody who's this brazen, somebody who's this aggressive, we believe will do this again," Breeden said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Glendale Police Department at 623-930-3000 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

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