Police look into second sexual assault incident

Albemarle County police are investigating two assaults that occurred last Thursday within 13 hours of one another.

The two assaults, which occurred in the Ivy Gardens apartment complex off Ivy Road and in the Georgetown Greens apartments off Barracks Road, both were made on young women in their homes.

Albemarle County police believe the same person might have committed both crimes.

"The incident locations are within four or five miles of each other and are similar in nature as far as neighborhood dynamics," Albemarle County Police Sgt. Peter Mainzer said. "Ivy Gardens is an apartment complex and Georgetown Greens are townhomes. So we're looking at that particular aspect."

Albemarle County police are handling the investigation, but Charlottesville police were alerted to the incident.

In the first incident "the suspect climbed onto the third floor balcony. He attacked a female and stole money. The second incident happened in the afternoon in a neighborhood near Albemarle High School and was a simple assault," Charlottesville Police Sgt. Dave Jones said.

According to Mainzer, the first incident occurred at about 2 a.m. Thursday morning in the Ivy Gardens apartment complex. The suspect entered the bedroom of a sleeping woman, punched her in the head and sexually assaulted her.

The man also stole a small, undisclosed amount of cash. The victim was treated at the Uniersity Medical Center. County police confirmed that she received a black eye in the incident.

The second attack occurred at about 3:15 p.m. Thursday in a townhouse apartment community on Georgetown Green Road where a man tricked a 27-year-old female resident into allowing him to enter her apartment.

Soon after, the man acted like he was leaving but instead punched the victim in the head several times and then ran away.

County police suspect that the man ran away after noticing the woman's roommate was home.

The victim was treated for cuts and bruises by rescue personnel.

Police have no suspects in either incident, but believe the incidents may be related.

"Several things have happened that indicate that it may be the same suspect," Mainzer said.

The first victim described her assailant as a light-skinned black man, 5 feet 11 inches to 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 170 to 200 pounds. The second woman described her assailant as a black man, 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches tall, 160 to 175 pounds with facial hair.

Although police are investigating possible links between the assaults, they are not yet certain of a connection.

"The time of day was completely different, and the suspect information was pretty vague on the first incident," Mainzer said. "The only obvious connection is that the neighborhoods are within four or five miles of each other."

Mainzer encourages young women living in apartments to be extra vigilant about safety.

"Do the common sense type things like locking your door, even if you live on an upper level," Mainzer said. "Don't assume that because you live off the ground level that you can leave your doors and windows insecure."

Anyone with information on the assault incidents should call Albemarle police at 296-5807 or Crimestoppers at 977-4000.

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