On condition of anonymity, an 18-year-old woman shares what happened when she was targeted by a man dubbed the "Red Car Flasher." The man is suspected of exposing his naked body to young girls near Arleta and Panorama City middle and high schools some 15 times since August 2011. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 3, 2013.
Days before Los Angeles students are set to return to school after winter break, the LAPD is warning teen girls near Arleta and Panorama City middle and high schools of a man they’ve dubbed the "Red Car Flasher" who has allegedly exposed his naked body to young girls more than a dozen times since August 2011.
On Thursday, detectives with LAPD Mission Division released a second sketch (pictured below) of the "Red Car Flasher," and have linked him to an attack that occurred three days before Christmas.
The latest incident happened about 11 a.m. on Dec. 22. That morning, an 18-year-old woman was walking alone near Woodman Avenue and Lassen Street in Arleta. She was calling her mother for a ride home when she noticed a red compact car parked at the curb, its passenger door open.
"Once I got close enough to the car he got out and was completely naked," said the victim, who agreed to speak to NBC4 on condition of anonymity. "He just got out and held out his arms as if to grab me. He smirked and started walking toward me."
Still on the phone, the victim's mother said the woman "started screaming her head off that somebody's trying to get her. Then she hung up."
When the teen ran to the street to yell for help, the man drove away in the red car, possibly an older import like a Honda, Toyota, or Nissan. The car is a commonality among all the cases, police said.
"His M.O. is very distinct," Lt. Paul Vernon, with LAPD Mission Division, said, referring to the man's red car and proximity of the attacks to schools.
Until the December incident, there hadn't been an attack since April, perhaps, Vernon said, because the man was in custody.
"This guy may very well be a sexual registrant on parole or probation that a police officer may reconginze," he said.
Victims in the 15 attacks that have occurred near the schools all described the man as having a light complexion and close-cropped, receding hair with "a bit of grey," police said. Victims have ranged his age between 25 and 40 and height from medium to tall.
"Two victims in separate incidents have given us descriptions that have resulted in two nearly identical sketches," Det. Luz Montero, an investigator at LAPD’s Mission Area Police Station said in a press release. "We think the suspect lives in the area he prowls."
All the victims have been Latino girls in their teens, and while none have been physically harmed, Montero said because the man has tried to grab the girls, “the stakes are much higher.”
"We want to warn the public again with this latest incident before the school session resumes, and we want everyone to be on the lookout for the Red Car Flasher," Montero said.
Anyone with information about the incidents or the so-called Red Car Flasher is asked to call LAPD Mission Detectives at (818) 838-9975. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).
NBC4's Patrick Healy contributed to this report.