Police have intensified efforts to bring a serial predator to justice after reporting two more abductions in Reston last week.
In two weeks, five females ranging from 17- to 30-years-old have been attacked at knifepoint along a half-mile stretch along North Shore Drive, according to police. All but one managed to escape unharmed.
“We’re taking a very proactive approach in trying to identify and apprehend the individual,” said Lt. Rich Perez, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Department. “The safety of the community is paramount to us.” Perez warned residents, especially women, to be extra cautious, not to walk alone and be aware of their surroundings.
Perez said the police department continues to withhold details about the cases because it could compromise the investigation.
“This individual has shown a propensity for doing these kinds of things,” said Perez, who called the suspect a serial predator. “We don’t want the offender to alter what he’s currently showing us.”
He urged residents to immediately report any suspicious persons or behavior in the area.
Robin Smyers who represents the area on the board of the Reston Association, said she’d like to see neighbors turn on their lights at night. “I think people need to be very aware of what’s going on and take some precautions until they get this guy,” she said.
THE TWO LATEST incidences occurred last Tuesday, Sept. 26 and Wednesday, Sept. 27.
The suspect, who police say can only be described as a dark-skinned man, possibly Hispanic, attacked a 22-year-old woman sitting outside her Northgate Square apartment off of North Shore Drive around 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 26.
The suspect approached her and whispered something she did not understand, said the police report. When the victim turned to walk away, the man grabbed her and displayed a knife, said police.
The victim was able to free herself from the suspect and the suspect fled the area on foot.
The next night the attacker grabbed a 30-year-old Reston woman from behind around 7: 30 p.m. as she walked on a path that runs along North Shore Drive and Wiehle Avenue, the intersection closest to Baron Cameron Avenue.
The suspect, who threatened the woman with a knife, dragged her into a wooded area near the path, said the police report. The victim screamed and got away. The suspect fled the area on foot.
Police were called to the victim’s home around 8:10 p.m. During the investigation, the 22-year-old victim approached an officer to report her attack the previous night.
THE THIRD ATTACK on Sept. 19 targeted a 17-year-old girl walking home from work around 9 p.m. near the intersection of North Shore Drive and Fairway Drive.
The suspect, wielding a steak knife, accosted the girl from behind and forced her into a nearby wooded area, said police.
“[The suspect] said, ‘Show me love,’” said Det. G.W. Barlow of Fairfax County Police, who is leading the investigation. Then, the suspect sexually assaulted the girl, according to the police report.
“Fortunately, there were people walking on North Shore Drive,” said Barlow. When the victim heard the passersby, she screamed, which caused the suspect to flee the area, said Barlow.
The girl did not suffer injuries that required treatment, said Broderick.
DETECTIVES BELIEVE the predator first struck on Sept. 14, attacking twice within two hours.
Around 8:30 p.m., the suspect tried to abduct a 28-year-old Reston woman walking on North Shore Drive just east of Moorings Drive. The man, who approached the woman from behind, brandished a knife, grabbed her arm and pulled her, said the police report.
The suspect then told her several times to come with him, but the victim refused, said the report. Barlow said the victim pretended to faint, which caused the suspect to leave the area heading east on a path paralleling North Shore Drive. The victim was not injured.
Later that night around 10:30 p.m., a 30-year-old Reston woman was walking across North Shore Drive onto Cameron Crescent Drive when a man walked up and grabbed her arm, according to police.
The suspect, also brandishing a knife, attempted to pull her toward a hill on the left side of Cameron Crescent Drive. The victim refused to go with the suspect, and he watched as she walked away, said the report. The victim was not injured.
Police said the suspect has been described as 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall with a thin to medium build and between 26 and 28 years old.
He wears a dark-colored, hooded sweatshirt or windbreaker with the hood pulled over his head.
Police continue to urge anyone who may have had contact with this suspect or been a victim of a similar attack to call police and report the incident.