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Police Warn of Attacks at Fullerton College : Violence: Patrols increased after series of five sexual assaults and attempted robberies.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

An attacker who has sexually assaulted or tried to rob five women near the Fullerton College campus has prompted police and campus security to increase patrols and to urge women to use on-campus security escorts.

Police believe the same man has committed all five attacks over the past three months. Two were robbery attempts, two were sexual assaults and the latest was a rape, police said.

“It’s (always) been calm around here, other than run-of-the-mill stuff,” said Sgt. Phil Montano, a supervisor of the college’s police detail. “I can’t ever remember anything this serious, this length of time or this often.”

The first attack occurred on Nov. 1, when a student was accosted on the way to her car in parking lot No. 10, between Chapman and Wilshire avenues on the south edge of campus. The attacker stole her purse and ran. A week later, a second student was attacked in the same parking lot. But she fought back, scratching her assailant in the face, Montano said, and he fled empty-handed.

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“She put up quite a struggle,” he said.

During the next month, two women were accosted in a campus parking garage on the same side of campus. In each case, the attacker struck the victim from behind as she got into her car, Montano said. He pushed them face down into the car and punched them as he tried to remove their clothes. But in both cases, the attacker was frightened away, Montano said.

In the latest attack on Jan. 9, the man is suspected of raping a woman in her apartment on the south side of campus as she got out of the shower, police said. He got in through an unlocked door, Detective Kevin Hamilton said.

All five attacks occurred between 6:30 and 11 p.m. Hamilton said police believe the man “may watch his victims and knows their movements before he attacks.”

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Hamilton urged women to lock doors, park in well-lighted places and walk to their cars with someone else.

“They should be aware of their surroundings as they walk, and if they notice anyone loitering about who looks suspicious in any way, they should return to the campus or go to a home or business and ask for assistance,” Hamilton said.

Campus police have beefed up patrols and posted flyers urging students to be careful and make use of free safety escorts to and from campus buildings.

Montano said use of the escort rides has doubled, from about six a night to 12, a sign the spate of attacks has made students more cautious.

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“The calls that we get, they generally mention the incidents,” Montano said.

The man is described as Latino between 17 and 22 years old, 5 feet 7 inches, with a slender to medium build. He has short, dark hair combed straight back and no facial hair. He wore heavy wool work gloves in two attacks, Hamilton said. Police said the man speaks heavily accented English and sometimes spoke Spanish during the assaults.

Hamilton asked anyone with information on the attacker’s identity to call Fullerton police at (714) 738-6762 or 738-6534.


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