Police looking for suspect in string of assaults

An attempted sexual assault Friday morning is the third in a series of crimes police believe to be connected.

James Nord

A female University of Minnesota student escaped an attacker who attempted to sexually assault her early Friday morning.  The assault was one of at least three from the past two weeks Minneapolis police believe to be connected.

In each case, an unknown suspect approached a female victim’s window and threatened her both physically and sexually, Minneapolis police Sgt. Bill Palmer said. 

In the most recent incident, which occurred at about 4 a.m. on the 400 block of Erie Street Southeast, the man entered the student’s home after threatening her in a way similar to the other cases, Palmer said.

After a struggle in the victim’s bedroom, the 24-year-old student was able to escape and the suspect fled the scene on foot, Palmer said.

This is a departure from the first two instances, which occurred on May 31 and June 7, when the suspect did not attempt to enter the victim’s residences before fleeing the scene. 

It is this escalating behavior that worries police.

“He’s getting bolder as time has gone on and our concern is that he is going to sexually assault a victim,” Palmer said.

Although police will be searching citywide for the assailant, Palmer said there will be increased resources put to use in the area surrounding the University.

The suspect is described as, “a black male, 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches, light or medium build with shoulder length hair in braids, 18 to 30 years of age,” according to a neighborhood crime alert.

In order to avoid such assaults, it’s important to keep windows closed while sleeping and to contact the police immediately if suspicious behavior occurs, Palmer said.

“We want to make sure that no one is victimized.”