(CNS) – Police today said a man dubbed the Teardrop Rapist – who has been linked to nearly three dozen sexual assaults since 1996 — may have been the suspect who attacked a woman about two weeks ago near downtown Los Angeles.
The latest crime occurred on June 15 about 5:30 a.m., when a 29-year-old woman was accosted as she walked near 25th Street and Naomi Avenue, southeast of the downtown area, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
“She was approached by a man who attempted to converse with her and then produced a handgun and forced her to walk into an alley, where he attempted to sexually assault her,” the LAPD said in a statement. “Fortunately, a vehicle came into the alley, and the suspect fled on foot.”
Detectives have identified 35 similar sexual assaults that occurred between February 1996 and the most recent attack. The assaults have been linked through DNA evidence and/or the suspect’s “distinct mode of operation,” police said.
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Police have released composite drawings of the suspect as provided by victims over the years. The suspect is Hispanic, and is believed to be 40-55 years of age, with brown hair and eyes. He is between 5 feet 2 inches and 5 feet 6 inches tall, and weighs between 130 and 170 pounds.
He has been described as having one or more “teardrop” tattoos below one of his eyes, and may now have scarring indicating an attempt to remove a teardrop tattoo. He has worn a bandanna, a black baseball cap, or a dark- colored beanie, and a dark hooded sweatshirt.
The crimes have occurred in the LAPD’s Southwest, 77th Street, Southeast, Rampart/Olympic, Newton and Wilshire areas. Three crimes occurred in the sheriff’s Firestone/Florence area.
All of the crimes occurred between 5 and 8 a.m. The victims have ranged in age from 14 to 41.
Typically, the suspect would walk up and engage a victim in conversation, and then produce a knife or gun. He would then walk them to a secluded area and sexually assault them.
The Los Angeles City Council has offered a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the identity, arrest and prosecution of the suspect. Anyone with information on the case was urged to call (877) LAPD-24-7.