PHOENIX – Police believe a serial rapist has sexually assaulted five teenage girls in the east Phoenix suburb of Chandler.
The most recent assault was reported Friday night after police responded to a call about a burglary in progress at a Chandler home.
The homeowner reported that he and his wife were outside the home, and that a man was inside the bedroom of his 14-year-old granddaughter. When police arrived, the man was long gone, but the girl said she had been sexually assaulted.
The method of operation differs slightly from the other four sexual assaults, which all occurred at single-parent homes. In those cases, the man attacked the girls in the morning after their parents had left for work.
In Friday's case, the sexual assault occurred at night, and while the girl's grandparents were sitting outside, they were home when it happened.
Nevertheless, Chandler police Sgt. Rick Griner said detectives believe the same man is responsible for all five assaults because of the girls' matching descriptions, location of the attacks and the way the girls were assaulted. Griner declined to elaborate, but did say the man used the same type of weapon in all five assaults.
The previous four attacks occurred last June, Jan. 16 and 31, and in March.
Chandler police have passed out thousands of fliers throughout the city describing the rapist as a five-foot-six-inch Hispanic man in his 30s with a muscular build, black hair and a thin mustache.
Police believe the man may be a construction worker because victims have described him as wearing faded jeans and tan work boots with fresh paint on them. They also believe he conducts surveillance on the homes where the attacks have occurred.
"We definitely want him off the streets," Griner said. "Someone must know something about this person, and we're asking them to do the right thing and contact us so we can get this sexual predator off the streets."