SLO Police are investigating a possible link between the May 12 sexual assault of a woman in the downtown San Luis Obispo area and a string of assaults that occurred last year.
The recent assault happened at around 1:35 a.m. near Nipomo and Leff, The suspect reportedly talked to the woman at Buchon, then covered her mouth and tackled her from behind. After a brief scuffle on the ground, the woman fought him off, and he fled on foot toward downtown. The suspect was described as a white man in his early to mid 20s with a medium build and short, dark hair.
Although no connection has been confirmed, Capt. Dan Blanke said that the mode of attack and witness descriptions have been consistent enough to believe that one man is responsible for five attacks.
In November and December of 2006, SLO saw four attacks over a period of six weeks. Two unsuccessful attempts occurred on Nov. 10 in the Cal Poly area, followed by a rape in early December, outside of downtown. The theoretical suspect seemed to get bolder with each ambush, reportedly raping one young woman in the rain next to her car and attacking another while she was on her cell phone. On Dec. 20, another woman was attacked in the 200 block of Chorro.
Police have tried to explain the suspected assailant's curiously long hiatus, but for now it's only speculation. One theory is that the suspect is a transient who split town when a composite drawing was plastered over the greater part of San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly. Another theory is that the suspect was arrested and held in jail for some unrelated crime.
Police have reissued a sketch of the man they believe is responsible for the attacks, and are once again stepping up patrols by marked and unmarked police. Local business owners are also being asked to post the sketch in an effort to increase awareness.
"The girls have been very successful in doing the right thing as far as fighting him off," Blanke said. "But there is always the risk of injury, and the risk that he will get bolder as he becomes more frustrated. I think the most important thing is not to present yourself as a victim."
Police are urging anyone with information to call the SLO Police Department at 781-7317. The sketch can be viewed at www.ci.san-luis-obispo.ca.us/police.