Detectives are warning Sylmar residents near 12900 Dronfield Avenue to
be on the alert for a male Black who sexually assaulted two women in the
early morning hours of December 9, 2012. The suspect was wearing
distinct earlobe gauges and may frequent the apartment complex.
“The good news is, neither woman was physically harmed in either case,” said Lt. Paul Vernon, head of the Mission Detective Division. “But these were two bold, public encounters within the same complex and within one hour’s time.”
The suspect is in his mid-twenties. Both women described him as wearing large gauges in both earlobes, making for a distinct appearance. The man had a medium build, 5’8” tall, 160 pounds, either wearing a hoodie or a baseball cap.
In the first case, the Ear Gauge Stalker approached a woman in her 30s who was pushing a baby in a stroller around 2:40 AM. He started with small talk, then reached under her dress and groped her. When she screamed, he ran away. About an hour later, the same man approached another woman, also walking back to her apartment, and engaged her in small talk.
“This time, the stalker was even bolder,” Lt. Vernon explained. “He grabbed her and through a combination of carrying and dragging, he moved her 60 feet to a dark, secluded area, and started to remove her clothing.”
Two passersby heard the woman’s screaming and intervened. The suspect ran away and police were called. Detectives did not learn of the earlier assault until a day later. Both women are Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, and lived in the complex, but separately.
Detectives have scheduled the victims to meet with a sketch artist, but in the meantime, detectives and officers have visited the complex to warn residents and canvas the area.
“We’ve already received one tip that the man with the ear gauges visits someone in the complex regularly,” Lt. Vernon said. “We’ll be distributing the composite as soon as the victims are available, and we’re poring over sex offender roles for the area to see if any registrants fit the suspect’s description.”
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to call Det. Luz Montero, Mission Area Sexual Assault Unit, at 818-838-9975. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at www.LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.
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