Sexual assault puts community on high alert
Amanda Ferguson, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Monday, August 11, 2008 4:30PM MDT
A senior is believed to be the latest victim of a series of sexual assaults in south Edmonton reportedly all by one man, police say.
A 68-year-old woman was at home by herself in the Aspen Gardens neighbourhood early Saturday when a man entered her house.
Investigators say the woman was assaulted in her home, near 40th Avenue and 122nd Street, by a strange man wearing dark clothing.
Police said they believe the man may be behind three other attacks in the Garneau neighbourhood from this spring.
"What we believe is there is male out there that wants to commit sexual assaults and it doesn't matter the age," Det. Melanie Grace said.
Investigators describe the man as about 5'9 tall, with a stocky build, wearing dark clothing and a disguise on his face.
A disturbing trend
The attacks in the Garneau neighbourhood began in late February when a 24-year-old was sexually assaulted in her home. A strange man reportedly broke into her house at 111 Street and 81 Avenue in the early morning while she was sleeping.
He allegedly attacked her and then fled.
Police said a similar attack happened again in May when a man broke into the same house again and sexually assaulted a 47-year-old women.
Investigators found the man also stole some money from the house before fleeing.
A week later, a strange man broke into a different home in the area of 111 Street and 80 Avenue.
He pepper-sprayed a 21-year-old woman and then sexually assaulted her.
The man then fled from the home.
Police said in two of the three instances, the attacker entered the home despite the fact the doors were locked.
"The factors that are amongst the three cases are the same," Grace said. "They all start with a break and enter ultimately ... also the activity that occurs during the sexual assault very similar, so that what leads us to believe it is the same suspect."
Residents living in Aspen Gardens say the attack has robbed them of their sense of security.
"That really scares me," Jessie Gilmour said. "There are a lot of young kids around."
"We always have our door locked," June Hladky said.
Police are encouraging women who live alone to be vigilant about locking their doors and windows.