Be on the
look-out: Public urged after latest attack|
By Dan Heuchert
In the wake of a seventh known attack to be genetically
linked to a serial rapist operating in the Charlottesville
community since February 1997, local and University
officials are renewing their appeals to the public for information and vigilance.
On Aug. 18, a woman arrived at her Webland Drive home
(between Albemarle High School and the Rock Store)
around 3:15 p.m. and discovered a man in the
according to an Albemarle County police press release. He knocked her to
the floor, sexually assaulted her and fled on
foot. Police believe that the assailant
gained access by breaking into a rear door, according to the release. The
case was subsequently linked forensically to
the other six reported cases, the release
Previously, the rapist was genetically linked to a May
2000 attack on a student at Lambeth Field, during
which she resisted his attack and forced him
flee. Other attacks have occurred in both Charlottesville and Albemarle,
as in Waynesboro.
Police are now de-emphasizing an earlier composite sketch
of the suspect that was based on the accounts
of several victims, instead offering the
• The assailant is believed to be a black male between the ages of 20 and
• He is between 5-foot-6 and 6-feet tall, and weighs between 150 and 220
• He has a medium to muscular athletic-type build.
• His eyes stand out as being extremely white.
• After the most recent attack, he may have bruising on lower arms or hands.
• He is extremely comfortable in and around the Charlottesville area.
There are frustratingly few similarities between the attacks, said Charlottesville
Police Lt. Chip Harding. Victims have been white, black,
Asian and South American; attacks have occurred in several areas. Experts nationwide
data in a vain search for patterns, he said. “He’s
all over the map,” he
A task force of Charlottesville, Albemarle and University
police are working on the case. According
to a recent announcement, the task force “strongly
believes that individuals in the community may have important information in
this matter that has yet to be provided to law enforcement.” They
urge anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at
(434) 977-4000. Callers may
remain anonymous. You may also send e-mail to email@example.com.
There is a $20,000 reward for information leading to
Police have offered several tips for community members.
• Avoid walking alone.
• Walk in groups whenever possible.
• Avoid dark, isolated areas.
• Trust your instincts about a person or situation. If you feel uncomfortable,
immediately call 911.
In several of the cases, the assailant has gained
access to a dwelling, then surprised his victim
when she returned
these additional suggestions:
• Keep doors and windows locked.
• Use outdoor lighting.
• Trim shrubs and trees to limit possible hiding spots.
• Call 911 immediately if you see a prowler; someone peeping into a residence;
an individual watching, photographing or filming an area;
or any suspicious behavior.
University officials are getting the word out to incoming
students, as well as to returning students
who may have been lulled into
a false sense
while away for the summer.
An e-mail has been sent to all students,
faculty and staff from Leonard W. Sandridge,
students and their parents were warned about the rapist’s activities
during summer orientation sessions, and University Police
have met with resident staff in University housing.
Fact sheets have been posted throughout the University
community, including academic buildings, residence halls,
libraries, buses and Safe Ride vans, and athletic