By David Webb

Man has assaulted four women in or near Oak Lawn since December

Laura Martin, the Dallas Police Department’s liaison to the LGBT community, says the rape suspect in the police rendering at right poses "a significant threat to women, especially in the Oak Lawn area."

It’s been almost a month since he last struck, but police know they haven’t heard the last of the serial rapist who has assaulted four women in or near Oak Lawn since late December.

"We believe that he is still out there looking for victims," said Laura Martin, a Dallas police officer with the Northeast Division who is the Dallas Police Department’s liaison to the city’s LGBT community. "I’d say he’s a significant threat to women, especially in the Oak Lawn area."

The rapist has attacked his victims late at night or in the early morning hours when it is dark. He has gained entry to the women’s dwellings through unlocked upper level windows and doors.

Martin said all of the victims attacked so far have been alone, and the rapist is apparently aware of that before striking. He carries pepper spray and a pocketknife to subdue his victims.

"Considering that all of his victims have been alone, it’s reasonable to say he does watch his victims," Martin said. "It is unlikely that he would be entering unless he was assured the female was there and would be alone."

Oak Lawn crime watch activist Nancy Weinberger said the realization that a serial rapist has struck four times has alarmed neighborhood residents. Information about the crimes and a sketch of the suspect has been distributed to residents.

"I know it is a big subject of conversation, and that leads me to believe women are paying attention and taking precautions," Weinberger said.

The attacks occurred in the 4000 block of Bowser Avenue on Dec. 23, in the 4700 block of Cedar Springs Road on Jan. 5, in the 2200 block of North Haskell Avenue in East Dallas on April 1 and in the 3200 block of Cole Avenue on April 21. Two of the attacks occurred at condominium complexes, one woman was assaulted in a townhouse and another was attacked in her apartment.

The suspect is described as a black or darkly complexioned Hispanic, approximately 25- to 35-years-old, about 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10, 150 to 165 pounds, thin with an athletic build and wearing a stocking or ball cap, long-sleeve shirt and white tennis shoes. In previous attacks he wore what appeared to be rubber-palmed gardening gloves. He spoke Spanish to his victims.

Martin said everyone should always keep their doors locked, even if they are only leaving their dwellings to walk their dogs, get the mail or do the laundry. It is possible for a criminal to quickly enter an apartment, unlock a window or door and leave before the resident returns, she said.

It is also a bad idea for anyone to take advantage of mild weather by sleeping with windows open, Martin said.

"That’s not ever a good idea, especially at this time," Martin said.

Martin can be contacted at [email protected]

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 16, 2008.

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