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Southside residents on edge after suspect breaks into 6 homes, exposes himself

RICHMOND, Va. -- Police on Richmond’s Southside are looking for a man who has been breaking into women's homes in the middle of the night and sexually assaulting them.

They say all six reported crimes are connected.

In some cases the man stands over his victim. In others, police say, he gropes them.

That makes the mood off Marlow Road, Brownleaf, Rossmore and Saint Anne's Drive one of uncertainty, of feeling unsafe.

"I kind of feel on edge," said Jessica Early, a Bramblewood resident.

Richmond Police asking people living in the Ashley park, Bramblewood Estates and Saint John’s Woods communities to lock their doors and windows and be on the look-out for suspicious activity.

Bramblewood

Police say there are similarities in all six cases. "The time of day, location, what he's doing when he gets inside," said Richmond Police Lt. Harold Giles.

Police say a man with a muscular build is making his way into apartment homes in the early morning hours between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Once inside, police say he either stands over and exposes himself or gropes female victims.

"I’m a mother with young children, it's sad that people are doing this,” said Layna McCarter, who lives off Brownleaf Dr. She says a week before the crime and creeper spree, her apartment was broken into.

Not knowing who had been in her home compelled her to give the building management a 60-day notice, that she was moving out.

Jessica Early, a Bramblewood resident

Jessica Early, a Bramblewood resident

Now with word Monday about the string of home invasions, she says moving day can't come fast enough.

"Everyone needs to know about all this,” McCarter said. “The apartment complex didn't inform us. I think every resident should know.”

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Major Crimes Detective Janet Mills at 804 646-6734 or Detective Greg Russell at (804) 646-7715. Citizens can also call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000 or text Crime Stoppers at 274637, using the key word “ITip” followed by your tip.

A breakdown of the six incidents:

The first break-in and assault happened on August 29.

Officers responded to a report of a break-in and assault in the 6900 block of Marlowe Road. The victim stated she was awakened around 6:15 a.m. by an unknown black male inappropriately touching her. She screamed and when another resident entered the room the suspect fled.

Police said a similar break-in and assault was reported on September 2 in the 500 block of Harrow Road.

The victim reported waking up at approximately 2:15 a.m. to an unknown black male touching her inappropriately. Another resident came into the room and scared the suspect away.

Four days later on September 6, two incidents were reported in roughly an hour.

The first took place at about 6 a.m. in the 6900 block of Marlowe Road. The second happened around 7 a.m. in the 1400 block of Brownleaf Drive. Both victims reported hearing knocking at a bedroom window.

The victim on Marlowe Road turned on the outside light and saw an unknown black male, who ran away as the light came on. Police say they found signs of an attempt to force entry into the residence in a torn porch screen.

On Brownleaf Drive, the victim told police she saw an unknown male outside of her window exposing himself. He was last seen walking toward Whitesand Drive.

The fifth incident occurred on September 9 around 1 a.m.  Officers were called to the 500 block of Rossmore Drive in reference to a break-in and indecent exposure. The victim advised that an unknown black male entered her apartment, exposed himself and then fled on foot.

On the morning of September 11, officers responded to the 1000 block of St. Ann’s Drive for a reported break-in and assault just before 5 a.m.

The victim stated an unknown black male entered the home, touched her inappropriately then fled through the back door of the residence.