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Police investigate reports of weekend rapes

Cases, believed to be separate, involved strangers attacking women

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Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015 6:14 pm

Odessa police continued Monday to seek suspects in two cases of rapes reported during the weekend, but so far said they believed the men were different people, according to Cpl. Steve LeSueur, spokesman for the department.

In both cases, women reporting their assaults told police they attempted to fight off their attackers before being overpowered and raped, LeSueur said on Monday, offering some new details in the sexual assaults that stood apart from most the department investigates.

“We are following leads,” LeSueur said, declining to elaborate. “We have received leads.”

Many times victims of sexual assault know their assailants, LeSueur said. But both rapes reported over the weekend involved apparent strangers, police reported.

“There is a possibility they are related,” LeSueur said. “At this time, it’s believed they are not.”

The first assault was reported at about 12:51 a.m. Saturday by a woman who told police a man attacked her at her home in the 3000 block of Bonham Avenue after offering her a ride, according to a release from the police department, (police initially released an incorrect time for the assault).

The woman told police that a heavy-set Hispanic man who was driving a white Ford SUV offered her a ride as she walked in the area of University Boulevard and Maple Avenue.

Police said that the victim reported that once the man drove her to the 3000 block of Bonham Avenue, he followed her from behind and despite her attempts to fight him off, raped her outside the home.

The suspect reportedly fled in the SUV before police arrived.

Investigators were exploring whether the suspect could be the same person who has been impersonating a police officer and attempting to stop women in different parts of town.

That man was described by police in a warning to the public last week as a Hispanic man about 6-feet-tall and 170 pounds with a thick accent, driving a white Ford Explorer or Expedition with red and blue flashing lights.

Women had reported attempted stops by the man, who was not wearing a uniform or badge, in the area of 42nd Street and Grandview Avenue, Eighth Street and Grandview Avenue, and 10th Street and Dixie Boulevard, according to a release from the department.

But LeSueur said officers have yet to uncover evidence linking the reported crimes, including any license plate numbers.

Police said the second weekend rape was at Southwest Oaks Apartments, 4651 Oakwood Drive. There, a woman told police that she awoke to find a stranger in a mask standing over her as she slept, according to a previous release from the department.

LeSueur said Monday that the second woman also attempted to fight off her attacker but was overpowered and raped before the suspect fled on foot. The woman reportedly told police that she had left her windows open.

The suspect in that assault, which is also being investigated as a first-degree felony burglary, was described as about 5-feet-6-inches tall, wearing a mask and gray shirt.

Police asked anyone with information about the reported sexual assaults to call the Odessa Police Department at 432-333-3641 or the Odessa Crime Stoppers at 432-333-TIPS.

In the meantime, the reported attacks prompted the police to warn people to secure their homes at night, through means such as locking doors and windows, and to avoid taking rides from strangers.

“We are just urging the public to use caution right now and be vigilant,” LeSueur said.

 

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