UPDATE: Sexual Attacks in Ross Appear to be Random, Police Say
One woman attacked Saturday and another Monday after walking their dogs in the early morning hours are in their mid-20s. They apparently have no connection to their attacker, police said.
The two Ross Township women sexually assaulted in their apartments in the early morning hours after returning from walking their dogs do not have any apparent connection to their attacker, police said.
"These appear to be random," said Ross Township Police Sgt. Benjamin Dripps as officers investigated the scene at the Cascade Apartments at 100 East West Drive, where the second assault was reported Monday morning.
A neighbor who gave his name only as John P. said he was feeling physically sick over the news.
"I've lived here a long time. This isn't the Cascades. This is a friendly community," he said. "I hope they catch the bastard."
The woman, whom police said is in her mid-20s, left her apartment to walk her dog about 6 a.m. Monday. When she returned, she found a man she did not know in her apartment. The man, who had a black handgun, assaulted her inside the apartment, Dripps said.
The man demanded money before the assault, according to police. Dripps declined to comment about whether anyone else was inside the apartment at the time. No other injuries were reported, he said.
The woman told police she saw the man outside the apartment complex when she started her walk. He did not confront her then.
The woman's identity is not being released because of the nature of the crime. She was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Dripps said.
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.
That matches the description of the man who attacked another woman Saturday in an apartment at the Woodhawk Club Apartments complex on Johanna Drive.
That woman in that incident is also in her mid-20s and was attacked about 9:30 a.m. after returning from walking her dog. In that incident, however, her attacker confronted her outside. The man showed a handgun and forced her to return with him to her apartment, where he assaulted her, police said.
That woman's identity also is not being released. She was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.
The man did not use a ruse to get close to either woman, Dripps said.
Police are searching for a dark blue Ford Expedition XLT that a witness saw leave the Woodhawk Club Apartment complex Saturday 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, Dripps 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, Dripps said.
Police said they received many tips on Monday.
One man who lives in the Cascade Apartment complex said he believes he saw a man in the area on Thursday who matches the description of the suspect that police released.
"He looked like he was casing the area out," said Dennis Calhoun, who lives on North South Drive. Calhoun said he didn't think much about it at the time, but after learning of the attack Monday decided to report what he saw.
He said he and his neighbors were feeling hypervigilant Monday night.
"Everybody is a little bit jumpy," he said.
A flyer alerting neighbors to the danger has been sent throughout the community. Neighbors are being asked to keep their porch lights on at night.
Brandy Carothers, property manager of the Cascades Townhomes and Apartments, declined to be interviewed.
The apartment complex is tucked off Cemetery Lane in Ross Township, within a 100-acre wooded setting.
While they were at the apartment complex Monday, police made an arrest after serving an outstanding warrant, but they said that arrest was not related to the assault case.
A 15-minute North Hills School District lockdown Monday also was not related to the search for the man involved in the attacks on the two women.
A young boy home alone in a nearby house on Rochester Road reported at about 11:30 a.m. that someone was breaking into the house. Police searched the home and surrounding area but found no evidence of a break-in and made no arrests.
A home invasion reported Monday in the Franklin Park area also is not believed to be connected to the attacks in Ross, police said.
Check back with Patch for more updates.
Anyone who sees a person matching the suspect's description or a vehicle matching the one police are looking for is asked to contact the Ross Township Police Department at 931-9070.