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Hunt Continues for Rapist in Sherman Oaks Attacks

August 20, 1994|AARON CURTISS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SHERMAN OAKS — Los Angeles police continued their search Friday for a knife-wielding rapist who broke into two Sherman Oaks homes earlier this week and attacked a 21-year-old woman and a 14-year-old girl as they slept.

Appealing for help from the public, detectives released a composite drawing of the man suspected of raping the 21-year-old and attempting to rape the teen-ager before she fought back and scared him away.

Detective Mel Arnold described the suspect as a black male between 25 and 35 years old, about 5-foot-6, 130 to 140 pounds with either a shaved or bald head. Arnold said the attacker may also have scratches on his face and neck as a result of his struggle with the teen-ager.

Arnold also said he considers the man, who threatened both victims with a knife, "extremely dangerous."

The attacks took place between 3:45 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Thursday in two quiet neighborhoods. In both cases, the attacker entered the homes through rear doors. It was not clear if the doors were locked.

In the first attack, the man entered a house on Nagle Avenue, raping the 21-year-old and holding her at knifepoint while her family slept in other rooms.

Less than three hours later, the man is believed to have walked into a house on Morrison Street and attempted to rape the teen-ager. She fought back, however, and chased her attacker out of the house and down the block.

Both women were treated for minor physical injuries and released.

Contacted Friday, the teen-ager urged women to prepare themselves for potential attacks by taking self-defense classes. Although she had not taken such a class, she said she has read about rape in school textbooks and in articles.

"Rape is a violent crime," she said. "It's not a crime of sex. It's a crime of violence."

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Arnold said detectives were searching their files for recently released sex offenders and asking other law enforcement agencies in Southern California if they have investigated similar attacks.

The detective also urged residents to protect themselves by keeping doors and windows locked or by installing security devices such as window bars or alarm systems.

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