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Police Step Up Hunt For Serial Offender
Police have stepped up their search for a serial sex offender targeting women in the northern and eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
Operation Modes is hunting for a man police believe has sexually assaulted at least seven women in the past two months.
Sexual Crimes Squad members will set up an information caravan in Hawthorn today, at the site of the most recent attack.
They hope to locate witnesses and jog the memories of people who may have noticed anything related to the crime.
The man sexually assaulted a young woman just after midnight on June 29 in a lane near the corner of Glenferrie and Burwood roads after forcing himself into her parked car, which she had just opened.
Sexual Crimes Squad head Detective Inspector Tony Cecchin described the assaults in Brunswick, Brunswick West, Coburn, Coolaroo, Glenroy, Fitzroy and Hawthorn as opportunistic street attacks.
"This particular individual is cold, calculating and callous, and he strikes vulnerable women," Det Insp Cecchin said.
The offender often chose women with shopping bags, either walking home or to their cars, police said.
In several of the attacks, he dragged the women from the street to a nearby park, where he assaulted them, police said.
Victims range in age from their late teens to mid-40s.
Police fear more women may have been assaulted but have not come forward.
The man is described as aged in his mid-20s with an olive complexion and a muscular build.
He is said to speak with an accent.
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Seventh Woman Attacked
A serial rapist dubbed by police the "night stalker" is believed
to be widening his net to attack women walking alone in Melbourne.
Police say the sex attacker struck for the seventh time in 10 weeks,
raping a woman in a Hawthorn laneway after stalking her for several hours.
The man is believed to have raped six other women in Melbourne's northern suburbs.
His victims, aged from 16 through to their 50s, have been sexually
assaulted on footpaths and parklands.
A taskforce of at least 12 detectives has been bolstered to hunt the
man, who had not struck for five weeks.
The attacker followed his latest victim, a young woman, after she left
the the Hawthorn Hotel in Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, and approached her after
she turned down secluded Luton Lane.
He then began a conversation with her as she got into her car before
forcing his way in and producing a weapon on Wednesday, June 29.
He fled by walking to Cook St and towards Burwood Rd.
Sexual Crimes Squad Det-Insp Tony Cecchin said the "callous and
calculated" attacks were perpetrated with total disregard for his victims.
Det-Insp Cecchin said the descriptions given by two traumatised
victims were extremely similar.
"Because of the striking similarity between the two face images, someone
must know this man," the officer said.
"If there is anyone out there that has any idea or any information
that may assist us, please come forward."
He also warned women to be wary walking alone at night.
"Although there is no need to be alarmed, I believe there is also a
necessity to take commonsense precautions," he said.
"Also follow your instincts. If you have a concern or you feel
uncomfortable, bring it to the attention of passers-by."
The man has a foreign accent and a muscular build.
The first reported attack happened in Childers Crescent, Coolaroo, on
Sunday, April 24, about 8.45pm.
Four separate attacks, including two in one day, followed over a month.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers.
Herald Sun (9-7-2005)
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