NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – The North Little Rock and Sherwood police departments are investigating a string of assaults they think could possibly be related, all within just a month of each other.
The attacks are happening in public places, businesses, and even walking trails in broad daylight. Detectives are working around the clock and have increased patrol in the area.
The first incident happened March 17 when a woman was assaulted after stopping to get gas at a station on McCain Blvd.
The latest assault occurred on Easter Sunday, April 16, at a popular walking trail near North Hills Blvd. The victim was attacked and hit twice in the face before breaking free.
"We responded to Fox and the Hound several weeks ago in reference to a black male who entered two victims vehicle,” said Sergeant Brian Dedrick with the North Little Rock Police Department. Once inside, the suspect pointed something towards their head implying he had a weapon. "I think he threatened for them to do what he said or he would kill them or cause bodily harm,” he added describing the encounter.
It turns out the object wasn't a weapon after all. The car’s interior light popped on and the two women inside escaped. "They got out and did the right thing. They ran back towards Fox and the Hound and called 911,” he said. This happened on March 25.
Since that first report on March 17, four other incidents have happened with a suspect fitting similar description. Another woman was abducted and sexually assaulted after leaving Buffalo Wild Wings alone on March 29. "5'6 to 5'8 black male, slender, and maybe curls in his hair,” Dedrick said.
There are a total of six cases and five have a strong possibility of being related. “In two of these incidents, the people running were wearing earphones playing music,” said Dedrick. A woman was attacked and sexually assaulted on April 8 in Burns Park, but the victim said she thinks her attacker was a white male.
On April 11, a woman was walking home from work and attacked on West 47th Street in North Little Rock. "They've involved sexual offenses such as rape, all the way up to what you saw Sunday involving another terroristic call and battery call,” Dedrick said.
Police urge everyone to stay alert and aware of their surroundings. "Scream, yell, whatever you got to do if someone comes up behind you,” he said.
Travel in groups when you can, especially at night. And if alone on a trail, don't wear your headphones.
Detectives have not identified the man doing this and ask for any tips.