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PUBLIC SAFETY ALERT Rapist Claims Another Westside Victim

By Anne La Jeunesse

March 18 -- A woman believed to be the sixth victim of a vicious sexual predator preying on Westside women – including two in Santa Monica -- was assaulted early Friday in her Palms apartment, according to Los Angeles police.

The 42-year-old woman was alone at 4:20 a.m. when the man police have dubbed the "Westside Rapist" entered her apartment in the 3500 block of Jasmine Street, sexually assaulted and beat her in the face and upper body, according to a Los Angeles Police Department report.

"We are not revealing the way he got in," said Officer Don Cox.

But all Westside women are being warned by police to lock their doors and windows, particularly when they are alone.

"Our biggest fear is that he will grow more violent with each occurrence and we want this to be the last occurrence," said Lt. Anthony Alba.

Investigators believe the victim may have scratched her attacker’s face during their struggle.

She was treated for her injuries at a local hospital.

The suspect resembles a composite sketch drawn after a previous Westside assault. He is described as an African American man who is youthful looking and between 17 and 25 years old. He is also described as clean-shaven with short hair, a thin build and about 5 feet 10 inches to six feet tall. He is said to have been wearing dark clothing: a bomber style jacket, baseball cap and jeans.

Police believe this to be the same man who has committed a string of violent sexual assaults that began in Santa Monica in December.

Assaults in Santa Monica occurred on Dec. 21, 1998, and March 18 of this year. Two more assaults occurred in Venice, on Feb. 11 and 23, and a previous Palms attack occurred on Feb. 19, police said.

The most recent Santa Monica victim was a twenty-year-old woman who was asleep when the man forced his way through a rear door of her ground floor apartment on the 2000 block of 14th Street at approximately 2 a.m.

According to Santa Monica police, the victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

The suspect was described as an African American male wearing dark shorts and a long sleeve T-shirt.

Police believe the suspect could also be the prowler responsible for a series of burglaries and attempted burglaries south of Pico Boulevard between 4th and 26th streets.

"If it is the same person, he's all over West LA," said Santa Monica Police Chief James T. Butts Jr. "But the descriptions of the victims have been diverse."

The police departments of Los Angeles, Santa Monica and UCLA are working closely to solve the assaults, for which there is a $25,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

Police say that anyone with information relating to these crimes should contact authorities.

The Santa Monica Police Department is urging all residents to watch for suspicious or unfamiliar people frequenting the area. Residents should be aware of their surroundings and, when possible, travel in groups. They should also share information with their neighbors and call 9-1-1 if they see a suspicious person.

For more information regarding personal and residential security, please call the Community Relations Unit at (310) 458-8474.

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