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Torrance Rapist Strikes Again

July 31, 2002|SANDRA MURILLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A man wanted for rape and kidnapping in Torrance has struck again. This time, a 16-year-old girl on her way to work Monday afternoon was attacked, officials said.

She was the second woman in less than a month to be assaulted by the man, who police say engages women in conversation to lure them to his car and then brandishes a handgun.

Two other women were able to run away from the rapist on July 4 and July 22. Torrance police warned that the man has targeted women throughout the city.

"The way it looks is that they're all random victims at random locations," Lt. Patrick Shortall said. "I think the key is to be aware of your surroundings and be on the lookout for suspicious behavior."

The incidents occurred in residential and commercial areas. Except for the attempted kidnapping at 10 p.m. July 22, all of the attacks took place in daylight hours. In the first three crimes, the man carried a handgun, police said.

The rapist gets the women close enough to his car to scare them with his gun and then kidnaps them, Shortall said. The man does not drive them very far, but police would not say if the women were raped inside his vehicle.

All of the victims, who range in age from their late teens to early 30s, were walking alone when they were confronted. They do not share any specific physical characteristics, police said. "It's not like he's into redheads or blonds or a certain type," Shortall said.

The assailant is described as African American, 23 to 40 years old, with a stocky build, shaved head and light mustache. Two vehicles have been used in the crimes--a compact silver car and a white van.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Torrance Police Department at (310) 618-5586 or (310) 328-3456.

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