ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — Authorities investigating a second sexual assault in Ross Township in less than 72 hours are now warning residents — particularly those living in apartment complexes in the North Hills — to be extra vigilant.
According to police, a woman out walking her dogs this morning just before 7a.m. returned to the Cascade Apartments and the suspect was waiting inside her apartment with a gun.
“She actually did notice him, [but] didn’t think anything of it,” Ross Township Police Sergeant Bejamin Dripps told KDKA-TV, “and he was in her apartment by the time she returned.”
The suspect is described as an African-American man, possibly in his 40s. He was wearing a black ski mask, a black hooded sweatshirt and dark-colored gloves.
Police scoured the neighborhood, talking with neighbors and searching the area with their K9s, but they did not find the suspect.
Now investigators are trying to determine if the same person may be responsible for another sexual assault at another Ross Township apartment complex over the weekend.
On Saturday, Ross Township Police were called to The Woodhawk Club after a woman claimed a masked man approached her outside of her apartment with a gun and forced her back inside, where he sexually assaulted her.
Police say both women gave a similar description of the suspect, the threats that were made and the gun used in the assaults.
“The similarities are enough that we are cautioning people and asking people to be very aware — those people that live in apartment complexes in the North Hills area that may be out in the early morning hours,” Sgt. Dripps added. “This individual — whether it be one or a second individual here today, a copy-cat, so to speak — is very fearless.”
Police are looking into the possibility that someone with a prior sex assault conviction may have recently been released from jail.
Based on surveillance video taken on Saturday, police believe the suspect in this weekend’s assault may have been driving a newer model — possibly a 2009 — dark blue Ford Expedition XLT that may have had chrome mirrors and damage to the driver’s side.
Neighbors are on edge.
“Scared to death,” a woman said. “I don’t want to live here anymore.”
“I’m going straight to my parents’ house – I’m not staying here tonight,” she added.
“It’s not just the act, it’s afterwards which she has to go through and I feel so bad for her,” another female driver said.
Ross Township police are asking people to limit early morning activities like dog walking or getting a newspaper. They also ask people to be aware of their surroundings.
Investigators are hoping that someone may have seen the car or the suspect in the attacks.
Anyone with information is urged to call police at 412-931-9070.
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Ross Township Police Department
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