A Ross Township Crime Watch meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 19 at the township Municipal Center in response to reports of two sexual assaults of women within days of each other.
The two assaults, one which occurred Saturday, Jan. 7, and the other Monday, Jan. 9, are being investigated by township police. Both assaults involved attacks on women in their mid-20s living in apartment complexes and both occurred in the early morning hours after the women returned from walking their dogs.
While North Hills residents remained vigilant in the wake of the attacks, both Ross Township and West View police placed extra patrols in the area's more than two dozen apartment complexes as they searched for the man behind the attacks.
"We're continuing to work on it," Police Chief Robert Bellan said Monday, after the meeting date was announced at the Ross Township Board of Commissioners meeting. "Our detectives have been working around the clock."
Ross Police are searching for a suspect described as a black man in his mid-40s. They said he was wearing dark jeans, a dark, Nike hooded and zippered sweatshirt with a red Michael Jordan logo, and a dark knit cap or mask rolled up on his head.
Police are also searching for a dark blue Ford Expedition XLT that a witness saw leave the Woodhawk Club Apartment complex on Johnanna Drive Jan. 9 driven by a man matching the description of the suspect. Video cameras on McKnight Road captured images of that vehicle minutes after the suspect was believed to have left the apartment complex, police said.
The Expedition is believed to be a newer model, possibly manufactured in 2009, and might have damage to the driver's side door. It is a regular-length SUV.
Also at Monday's board meeting, commissioners reappointed the following committee members:
* To the Zoning Hearing Board, Frank Kodrich, a 40-year resident of the township and former commissioner. The appointment is a 5-year term. The vote was 9-0.
* To the Civil Service Commission, Thomas Lawlor, a bankruptcy and family estate attorney with the firm Lawlor& Lawlor in Perrysville who served as a commissioner in the mid-1980s (He ran for the office at the age of 24). The appointment is a 6-year term. The vote was 5-4.
The minority voted for a new nominee, Steve Korbel, an attorney with Babst Calland who serves as solicitor to Aspinwall and Forest Hills. In a speech before the vote, Korbel offered to help bridge ongoing disagreements between the commissioners and the civil service board.
*To the Planning Commission, Nelson Erb and Larry Naimark. Erb is a 60-year resident of the township who just celebrated his 90th birthday; he was honored for the achievement Monday with a plaque and cake. Naimark has served on the planning commission since 1992. The appointments are both for 4-year terms. The vote on each was 9-0.
* To the Vacancy Board, George Tunney, a 48-year resident of the township, who has been reappointed to the position each year for the past eight years. The vote was 8-0, with Commissioner Lana Mazur abstaining.
The commissioners also approved by a 9-0 vote the purchase of a golf cart at the cost of $2,500 for the parks and recreation department to use during community events, and a request for the recreation director and assistant director to attend the PA Recreation and State Parks State Conference at a budgeted expense of $2,200.
The board also agreed to hire five new public works employees to fill four recent openings created by retirements, voting on each of the new hires from a list of eight. The new positions will be part time.
Commissioner Pete Ferraro voted by phone.
The next meeting of the board of commissioners will be on Monday, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m.