CHANDLER, Ariz. – A possible serial predator who stakes out children’s homes, waits for their parents to leave, then sexually assaults his young victims, is being hunted by police in Arizona.
The female victims are raped in their bedrooms and foyers, police said. The attacker carries a weapon, threatens the girls and always manages to escape. He has raped three teenage girls since January, according to local police.
"The suspect is watching the victims prior to when he attacks them. He knows when the parents are leaving," Chandler Police Department spokesman Sgt. Rick Griner told FOXNews.com on Tuesday.
Authorities believe the same man is responsible for the attacks.
Chandler police on Tuesday night will kick off a neighborhood canvas, passing out fliers with case information and a description of the suspect in hopes that a family member or friend of the suspect may recognize him, Griner said.
"Right now, we're just trying to keep it out there, get it out there. ... Maybe somebody will recognize him and come forward with his identity," Griner said.
The most recent attack occurred around 7 a.m. Friday morning when a 13-year-old girl was raped in her bedroom after her parents left for work, police said. The suspect gained entry into the home, awakened the victim, and threatened her with a weapon. Also sleeping in the house at the time was the victim’s younger brother, who was not harmed.
Approximately three weeks before that attack, a suspicious vehicle was seen loitering in the area, police said Tuesday. It was a white, newer model, Ford F-150 four door pick up truck with tinted windows and an unknown Arizona plate. In the March 23 attack, the suspect wore black jeans; a long sleeved white shirt, and white athletic shoes.
The other attacks occurred Jan. 16 on a 13-year-old girl and Jan. 31 on a 14-year-old girl, police said.
Information released by the Chandler Police Department on Tuesday said that during the Jan. 31 attack, the attacker was wearing a brown work coat with an attached tan hood. He wore faded blue jeans, and tan work boots that had fresh light blue and white paint drops on them. He also had a cellular phone that used an audible ring tone with combined "bells and rings." He wore a black knit cap that he rolled down to become a ski mask.
The first two cases have been linked by physical evidence, police said, and they believe the same suspect to be responsible for the third as well, although they are still waiting on forensic evidence to prove that.
"The physical evidence linked the first two together, but we're not discussing what that evidence was," Griner said, adding that the description of the suspect, method of attack, and other details fit the suspect's description.
"There's just a lot of similarities between the three cases, that's why we think the third one is also connected," he continued.
One of those similarities is that all victims were from single-family households, he said.
Police say the suspect is believed to be a Hispanic male who spoke English but with a Spanish accent.
That March 23 victim also reported that approximately one month ago, a Hispanic male entered her house at about the same time of day, woke her up, and stated that the neighbor’s house was on fire and that she needed to get out of her house, police said in a release on the department's Web site. She stated that he left briefly, returned, and told her it was a false alarm and then left the house. The victim believes that the suspect who sexually assaulted her is this same person as he had a similar build, movements and speech.
Grine said that right now, Chandler police consider this a crime specific to their town, and surrounding authorities don't believe any of their crimes are connected to this one. A team of sex crimes investigators, as well as investigators from the precinct's family crimes division, is working on the case.
All of his attacks blamed on the predator have occurred within a 1.5-mile stretch along McQueen Road, from north of Ray Road to south of Chandler Boulevard. Police believe the attacker probably lives nearby.
The Chandler Police Department is going to increase its uniform presence in the neighborhood, which is considered a typical middle-class area, not used to experiencing this type of crime, Griner told FOXNews.com.
“That’s just hitting way too close to home,” Kevin McKinney, 21, a resident in the most recent neighborhood to be struck by the rapist, told The East Valley Tribune. “I can’t believe no one noticed him.”
Anyone with any information on the suspect is encouraged to call Silent Witness at (800) 343-8477 or the Chandler Police Department at (480) 782-4130.