City and county leaders have approved rewards totaling $35,000 in hopes of tracking down a suspect in a string of sexual assault attempts and home invasion crimes this month in the Echo Park, Westlake, Silver Lake, Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles areas.
The Board of Supervisors approved a $10,000 reward Tuesday, as recommended by Supervisor Hilda Solis, while the Los Angeles City Council will vote next week on whether to offer a $25,000 reward.
Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who introduced the council reward motion, said during a City Hall news conference that "we have a violent predator on the loose" who has been known to strike several times in a day.
He urged anyone who may know the man to turn him in, as did Lt. Joe Losorelli, who said the suspect is very likely to strike again.
"This suspect, we believe, has the potential to carry out a more serious crime," Losorelli said. "He's very bold, he's entered locations and attacked the people who are inside ... In my past ... experience in investigating these crimes, they don't just stop, they'll continue."
The suspect, who has been known to carry a kitchen knife, has entered apartment buildings and trespassed into homes. He's attempted sexual assaults on two women, who screamed and fought him off, according to police.
In those two incidents -- in the 800 block of North Mariposa Avenue in East Hollywood and the 1600 block of Cortez Street in Echo Park -- the man checked numerous apartment doors and then entered unlocked units, according to Solis. When a female resident returned to her apartment from the complex's laundry room, the suspect covered her mouth and pinned her to the wall.
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Her loud scream ultimately scared him off. In the second case, the suspect pinned a woman against a couch and assaulted her. Her dogs somehow intervened and the woman was able to push the man off and run for help, Solis said.
The suspect is described as a light-skinned black man in his 20s or 30s, with black hair and brown eyes. He was seen on surveillance video earlier this month wearing an olive green shirt with an Virgin Mary image, blue jeans and a pair of blue and white Adidas shoes. He is connected to eight incidents, seven of which took place on Aug. 1- 2.
The most recent sighting took place this past Saturday morning in Hollywood, when the suspect was seen peeping into a home in the 1900 block Highland Avenue through a window. He was wearing a black shirt, khaki pants and red and white Nike high- top sneakers, police said. Authorities urged members of the public with any tips or leads for the Los Angeles Police Department to call (800) 222-TIPS.