Police warn of skirt chasing offender

February 19, 2009 12:08:26 AM PST
Berkeley Police are trying to catch a sexual predator that is targeting young women in skirts, late at night. There have been 10 assaults so far in the south campus area of U.C. Berkeley -- mostly off Piedmont Avenue.

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Berkeley police went door-to-door, alerting sororities about a sexual predator who's been lurking in the neighborhood.

Since January 24th, the sexual predator has attacked 10 times, all on or near Piedmont Avenue as parties are letting out. He approaches his victims from behind, lifts their skirts, and molests them before running away. He's even attacked two women at a time.

"The way I think of it is as long as somebody's with me, I'm okay. But I guess that's not true," said Karen Quant, a U.C. Berkeley student.

The suspect is a white male, in his early 20's, five feet 10 inches tall, weighing at around 165 pounds. He also has short dark wavy hair. His attacks have created such alarm the sorority, Alpha Delta Pi, is going so far as arming its members.

"They've just been warning us a lot, sending us emails and making us very aware. We're like ordering pepper spray for everyone in the house to take with them when they go out, to make sure they have another defense even though it's not really avoidable," says Daniela Levin, a U.C. Berkeley student.

In most cases, the victims have been calling police the day after an attack, but officers would rather be notified immediately. That way, they can scope the area as soon as possible in hopes of catching the person responsible.

Police say time is critical because they fear the attacks will become more violent.

"Our concern is he's going to get a little bit bolder and maybe next time it just won't be a sexual battery. You know, we don't want to see it become a rape," says Officer Andrew Frankel, with the Berkeley Police Department.

Police are counting on fraternities to help. They've been going to their houses too, asking them to do their part.

"We always encourage girls to leave with either our guys to walk them home or with good friends that they know," says Jake Haim, a U.C. Berkeley student.

These are precautionary measures, Berkeley Police can only hope will put an end to the late night attacks.

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