NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Police are looking for a man they believe sexually assaulted five women from December 2007 to last month _ crimes linked by DNA evidence _ and officials warned women to take precautions.
The victims ranged in age from a teenager to 28 and all had been walking alone in the Newhallville section of New Haven, police said.
The man had a handgun in two cases and simulated a handgun in a third attack, police said.
Police linked all five crimes last week through DNA, but knew some of the cases were connected earlier, Lt. Julie Johnson said. She said authorities have not linked the man to any other rapes.
Women should not walk alone or in dark or deserted areas, Johnson said. She said they should have their keys ready to enter a car or residence.
“You should walk quickly and confidently,” Johnson said. “Be paranoid and suspicious. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Run if you have to and scream to be noticed.”
Police have been handing out fliers to residents and businesses with the suspect’s description and have advised women they spot walking alone to take precautions, Johnson said.
The first attack occurred in the early morning of Dec. 31, 2007, when a man armed with a handgun sexually assaulted a woman near the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail. The next assault, on Feb. 27, 2008, also occurred near the trail.
Police say the other assaults occurred on Aug. 20, 2009; July 11, 2010; and Jan. 17.
In the last assault, police say a man with a handgun sexually assaulted a woman behind a garage.
The assailant is described as 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-11, weighing 170 to 200 pounds and having a light to medium complexion. He was last seen wearing an olive green puffy winter coat, possibly having fur on the hood, and blue jeans.
Police asked that anyone with information in the cases to call a tip line at 203-946-6296.