Friday, July 14, 2000

Break-ins may be linked to serial rapist

Masked man lurks inside homes

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Police are investigating whether a series of break-ins and “Peeping Tom” cases is linked to a serial rapist in Greater Cincinnati.

        The incidents started four weeks ago in Loveland, Sycamore Township and Sharonville.

        Although no rapes have occurred, authorities fear a connection to a serial rapist who has prowled the northern border of Hamilton County for more than a year.

        Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said the incidents are similar to the rapes because they involve a man who moves around and inside homes, often when children are home.

        In one case, he said, a 10-year-old boy in Sharonville woke up to see a masked man in his room, videotaping his sleeping 5-year-old sister.

        Two other incidents in Sharonville involved a man who attempted to break in through a screened window, and one who was spotted looking through a kitchen window.

        All of the Sharonville incidents occurred within a 48-hour period this week.

        “It can't be said with certainty that these are related to the serial rapist,” Mr. Allen said. “But it can't be said they are not related either.”

        During the past month, he said, there also have been two attempted break-ins in Loveland and two more in Sycamore Township.

        A task force made up of several law enforcement agencies has been investigating the rape cases for more than a year.

        The serial rapist has been linked by DNA to four rapes since 1998. The attacks have occurred in April and July, with two occurring on the same date: July 25.

        With that date approaching, Mr. Allen said, the recent rash of break-ins may not be a coincidence.

        He urged residents to lock doors and windows at night, and to be alert for unfamiliar cars and people in their neighborhoods.


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