Chicago police issued a warning about a possible serial rapist on Tuesday in the wake of armed sexual attacks targeting women in two bordering neighborhoods.
Investigators said at least four women have been sexually attacked in the Chatham and Greater Grand Crossing neighborhoods since last month by a suspect who lured them to a secluded area and threatened them with a weapon.
The attacks happened between July 12 and Aug. 23.
"These incidents have occurred when these female victims are alone and in areas that are dark," Chicago Police Department Lt. Ozzie Valdez said at a press conference Tuesday. "What we do ask is that everyone be cautious when they are out in that area -- mainly by the 75th Street corridor."
Valdez declined to disclose specifics about the attacks, but he said the suspect engaged in a brief conversation with the victims to lure them to a dimly lit area before assaulting and robbing them. He said the suspect used a gun or knife in each attack.
He said there's no way to be sure, but victim statements indicate that the same person could be behind the attacks.
Chicago Police Detective Arleseuia Watson, who is spearheading the investigation, warned residents in the areas to be extra vigilant, especially when walking at night.
"I would advise young women to stay in the company of others," Watson said Tuesday. "Be mindful of their surroundings and try not to be walking and looking at your cell phones and not paying attention to what's going on around you. Be aware of where you are and who you're around."
The case has put the neighborhood on edge.
"It honestly scares me because I take this route and I will still take this route," one resident told Chicago ABC station WLS. "I don't have a choice, and now it puts fear in -- it really scares me, because I have my daughter with me and that's just both of our lives."
"You can be walking past him every single day and don't even know it, so that's very scary and very frustrating, so I am hoping they get him and catch him and it stops," another resident added.
Police described the suspect as a male in his 20s, who is between 5-foot-7 and 6-foot-2 and weighing between 130 and 160 pounds with black hair. Investigators said anyone with information should contact the Bureau of Detectives at 312-747-8380.