Crime

Cambridge police ask for public’s help finding serial sex assault suspect

In each case, the male suspect swiftly approaches women on the sidewalk, grabs them, then flees.

Cambridge police released this photo of the suspect. Cambridge Police Department

Cambridge police are hoping to identify and locate a person responsible for three separate incidents of sexual assault in the past eight months. 

In each case, women told police a man approached them on the street, grabbed them, then fled on foot — in one case, laughing as he ran away.

On Friday, Cambridge police released videos and surveillance photos of a person they describe as a possibly Hispanic male, between 5-foot-3 and 5-foot-8, with a medium build, and carrying a dark backpack.

The photos and videos show a man wearing a mask and carrying a black backpack, scurrying down a sidewalk and across a parking lot. He’s also seen passing through an MBTA turnstile.

The unidentified man is suspected in a series of indecent assaults. Police say the first one to be reported happened around 9 a.m. on  Feb. 10. In that incident, a man approached a 35-year-old Cambridge woman from behind near Mason Street and Phillips Place and put his hand on her buttocks. The suspect then reached around the woman’s front and touched her groin area. The suspect then ran to Brattle Square.

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The second incident happened around 8:40 a.m. on April 13, when a 47-year-old Somerville woman was physically and sexually assaulted near the Porter Exchange Shopping Center at 1815 Massachusetts Ave. That woman told police she was walking down Roseland Street towards Massachusetts Avenue when she felt someone quickly approach her. After trying to step out of the way, the suspect reached up her skirt and felt her buttocks. When she turned around to confront the assailant, he ran away.  

The most recent incident happened around 3:20 p.m on Aug. 24, when a 19-year-old Cambridge woman said she was assaulted near Prescott Street and Broadway. Police said they responded to the location after a man allegedly came up from behind the woman and grabbed her chest. When she turned around, the suspect laughed and ran towards Prescott and Cambridge Street. Police said they stopped someone who matched the assailant’s description, but officers determined he wasn’t the culprit.

Police say the suspect has “a unique and noticeable gait,” as video surveillance shows him running on his toes. Cambridge police sent a prior public notification about this suspect in April, along with a surveillance video. Police said they received and investigated several tips but could not find a suspect.

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Anyone with information about these incidents can contact police by calling 617-349-3300 or sending anonymous tips to the Crime Tip Hotline at 617-349-3359. Tipsters can also use the Cambridge Police MyPD mobile app or send text messages to 847411. Begin your text with TIP650, and then type your message. To send tips via email, visit cambridgepolice.org/Tips.

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