There appears to be a serial slasher on the loose in Fairfax, Va., who targets his female victims in one area of their bodies: their buttocks.
Fairfax County Police believe that the apparent serial butt-slasher has been using a box cutter or razor to slice women's rear ends in Fairfax County retail stores since February.
"That's what appears the wounds and cuts [to the clothes] have been caused by," said Lucy Caldwell, public information officer for the Fairfax County Police.
So far, six women have reported being victimized, police said, but authorities would not be surprised if more women realize that they have been victims of the same type of assault and come forward.
On Monday, Aug. 1, a sixth victim reported such an assault to Fairfax County Police. The 21-year-old woman was shopping at the T.J. Maxx at Fairfax Towne Center in Fairfax, Va., on June 8 when she felt a pinch on her buttocks. The woman did not realize that she had been the victim of an assault and did not report the slashing to police until Monday.
"It wasn't until all of this came to the public's attention that she realized she may have been victim," said Caldwell.
On July 25, another woman suffered the same type of assault at a Forever XXI store in Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, Va.
According to Fairfax County Police, the 18-year-old victim was was shopping when she noticed clothes that had fallen off of a rack behind her and saw a man bending down to pick them up. She immediately felt a "sharp pain" and believed one of the hangers had struck her.
A short time later, the victim discovered that her denim shorts had been slashed; her buttock had been cut and was bleeding.
"She suffered about an inch and a half long slice in her rear end," Caldwell said.
Forever XXI store employees contacted security, which reached out to Fairfax County Police. According to Caldwell, the victim refused medical attention for her wound.
Previous assaults took place on June 20 at around 2:45 p.m. in a Marshall's at Greenbriar Shopping Center in Fairfax, Va., and two others occured on June 18 and May 15 at an H&M at Tyson's Corner Mall in Tysons Corner, Va., and an Anne Taylor at Fair Oaks Mall, respectively.
The first slashing occured on Valentine's Day at a Champss at Fair Oaks Mall. The victim was pregnant.
In each case, the suspect distracted his victim before cutting her. The victims have all been teenaged women or in their early 20s.
"We caution young women to pay close attention to surroundings," Caldwell said. "If they feel at all uncomfortable in a public environment, they should contact police and security."
Police describe the perpetrator as a heavyset, 5-foot-6, Latino man in his late 20s. They don't have "any reason to believe that there won't be another assault" and are not sure his slashings may not be isolated to Fairfax.
So far, Caldwell said, "We don't know what the motive would be."
Gregg McCrary, a former FBI profiler for 10 years who teaches forensic psychology at Marymount University in Arlington, Va., said that the suspect may have a rare sexual disorder: piquerism.
"The offender probably derives sexual gratification from slashing or pricking or piercing women in sexually significant areas of their body," McCrary said.
According to McCrary, the suspect's actions are consistent with this rare disorder because he only targets victims' buttocks.
"He isn't just going up and indiscriminantly slashing women in their face ... back or arms, where someone could say he's just perpetually angry at women," McCrary said. "He's targeting a sexually significant [body] area."
He added that some piquerists "plateau off" while others transition into sexually violent offenders.
"I think the troubling aspect of this guy," McCrary said, "is that he has gone beyond sexual fantasy into his acting out and physically harming women."