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Police on the Prowl in Burke

Fairfax County Police canvass a Burke neighborhood seeking leads in a sex-crimes case.

A new lead in an old sex-crimes case led Fairfax County police Monday night to a neighborhood in Burke, as residents wondered what would happen next.

"I'm more aware of what's going on. I want people keeping their eyes open. Generally, this neighborhood is not like that," said David Boyle, who lives in the Lakepointe community off Guinea Road in north Burke.

Fairfax County detectives were in the neighborhood on Monday pursuing additional leads in an indecent exposure case from December 2004. The incident took place on Whitewater Drive, which runs off Lakepointe Drive.

"We'll be going door to door to alert the community, concentrating on the description we have, to see if we can jog anybody's memory," said Sgt. Richard Perez of the FCPD.

DETECTIVES SPENT an hour and a half questioning neighbors and showing a composite sketch of the suspect, which police have established is linked to a pair of assaults that occurred over five years ago.

"It kind of worries me, because I have a wife and kids," said Robert Parker, who lives on Whitewater Drive. "My kids go down to the park and play. You never know what's going to happen."

Police were drawn to the neighborhood after developing a DNA link from evidence collected at the scene of the December incident and a pair of sexual assault cases that occurred in 2000 and 1998.

On Dec. 6, 2004, at about 10:45 p.m., a 51-year-old woman looked out of a glass door in her basement in the 9900 block of Whitewater Drive in Burke. She saw a man exposing himself and yelled to him, according to police. He then fled into the nearby woods.

Residents of Whitewater Drive mentioned the fact that a registered sex offender lived on the street but that they doubted there was a connection between him, a 47-year old man, and the suspect, whom police believe to be in his mid-20s, 5 feet 10 inches, and 180 pounds, with a muscular build. He was clean-shaved and had short, black hair, as of police sketches released after the two prior incidents.

On Aug. 3, 2000, at about 11 p.m., a 56-year-old woman was asleep in her home on the 11900 block of Parkside Drive in the Fairfax area. Police say a man entered her bedroom and began punching her. The woman struggled, and the suspect fled.

On Sept. 9, 1998, a 47-year-old woman was jogging near the Fairfax County Parkway near Monument Drive. A man grabbed her, forced her into a nearby wooded area and sexually assaulted her, say police.

The years separating the events leave open the possibility that other attacks may have occurred that can be linked to the three assaults. “It is possible that there are others,” said Mary Mulrenan, spokesperson for Fairfax County Police.

Police are investigating other assaults in an effort to find possible instances involving this suspect. “They’ll [investigators] look at all other suspects in the other sex assaults,” Mulrenan said. Another possibility could be a person from out of the area who is visiting, she said.

Mulrenan encouraged residents who have noticed “peeping toms” to come forward. “Peeping is an important crime for us because it can expand into more,” she said.

The victim in the 1998 assault was able to provide police with a composite sketch, which the most recent victim has verified.

Anyone with information about the assaults or who recognizes the person in the sketch is asked to contact police at 703-691-2131 or Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477.

"We know this individual is linked to three cases, dating back to 2000," said Perez. "We will actively keep looking, comparing this to other cases in other areas."