A man who is assaulting women on the streets of Arlington by attempting to put a plastic bag over their heads has struck a fourth time.
The most recent plastic bag attack occurred on Memorial Day, May 28, at around 2:30 a.m.
A woman was walking with her friends near the Ballston Metro station when she separated from them and began walking alone on the 1100 block of North Vernon Street.
According to Arlington County Police, she turned around when she heard a person running behind her. It was a man who held her head down and put a plastic bag over her face.
The woman screamed and pushed him away. She then fled on foot.
The description the victim gave to police — of a black male, aged 30 to 35, around six feet tall, wearing dark clothing — is nearly identical to the suspect in three similar plastic bag assaults that have occurred in the last two months.
The first two assaults, which took place on March 5 and April 16, took place in Rosslyn while the third assault took place on May 10 in the Virginia Square neighborhood.
In all four incidents, a man assaulted the victims by putting a plastic bag over their heads and fled after the victims screamed or tried to physically confront him.
Arlington County Police Department Public Information Officer Steve Gomez said that detectives believe that all four incidents were perpetrated by the same man.
He also said that the detectives investigating the crimes have no persons of interest who they are pursuing currently.
"We are doing increased patrols in certain hours and locations where we think he might be," Gomez said. "Unfortunately, I think we are just hoping to catch him before he does his next [assault]."
Police are advising women against walking alone at night, especially in dark areas. They are also suggesting that women be aware of their surroundings and avoid blind corners.
"If you do end up walking alone and you run into this guy," Gomez said, "Our best advice is to make as much noise as possible and run away. The more attention you can bring to yourself, the more likely you are to get away."
Despite the fact that, in all four incidents, the victims escaped by physically confronting their attackers, Gomez said that the police are not recommending that women fight back if they are attacked.
"We are being very careful [with that] because we don’t want someone to get hurt," he said. "It’s been successful before but we have to fall short of advocating that."