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Police turn to public for help after string of sexual assaults
BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull
Beaumont Police are asking for the public's help locating the person they believe is responsible for a series of sexual assaults from May to June in apartment complexes.
"Our concern is that he seems to be laying in wait and catching victims unaware. He likes to strike early, early in the morning and late, late at night," Beaumont Police Officer Carol Riley said.
Officers said the first assault happened May 5 around 12:30 a.m. at the Regent Apartments in the 1800 block of Regent St. Police said a woman pulled into the parking lot, exited her car and turned to reach for something in the backseat. A man then robbed and assaulted her.
Officers said the second incident happened June 24 around 2 a.m. in the back parking lot of the Ashley Square Apartments in the 1100 block of 7th St. Police said a woman stepped out of a friend's apartment . As she was making a phone call, investigators said a man approached her from behind, stole her phone, forced her into a patio area and assaulted her.
Officers said the third assault happened July 2 around 11 p.m. at the Autumn Cove apartment complex in the 3900 block of Eastex Freeway. Police said a woman had the front door of her apartment slightly cracked. A man entered, tried to rob her and then assaulted her. The victim was able to escape and yell for help.
"We are concerned that it may be the same suspect because the victims have given the same descriptions," Riley said.
Police said the attacker is described as a black man, early to mid-20's, 5 ft. 9 in. to 5 ft. 10 in., having a thin build and clean shaven. He's also reported to have bulging eyes and a wide, flat nose.
Police said he wore a gray sweatshirt and dark cap with ear flaps and fur on the brim. In one instance, he's reported to have worn a ski-style hat. Police said in each assault, he threatened the victims with a hand-gun.
The attacks have some residents taking extra-precautions.
"I have bought pepper spray, registered to get a gun," Adrienne Labeaux said.
"Now, when I get out of the car I become aware of my surroundings," one woman who did not want to be identified said.
"I've never really had a worry, it might make me worry now," Charlene Busceme said. Her and her husband Carlo Busceme live across the street from one of the apartment complexes.
"I thought, well it's too close to home but you know, what can we do about it? Just be on the look out," Carlo Busceme said.
Police said to minimize your risk of becoming a victim: pay attention to your surroundings, lock your home and car doors, be careful of what you post on social media, carry a charged cell phone, let someone you trust know where you are, trust your instincts, avoid situations that make you feel unsafe, don't travel alone and call the police if you see anything unusual.
"Just be aware, be vigilant and pay attention to your surroundings," Riley said.
If you have any information about the man described or the assaults, you can call Crimestoppers at 833-TIPS.