Serial slasher sought in Fairfax County

Surveillance photo of the suspect. (Photo: Fairfax County Police)

Several days after releasing new photos of the suspect in a series of slashings at area malls, Fairfax County Police say they're surprised at the lack of tips in the case.

Fairfax County Police say a possible serial slasher is on the loose and targeting teenagers. A search is underway for a suspect who allegedly cut several women while they were shopping at various retail stores.

Police say that considering the volume and quality of the images released, they're amazed that they haven't obtained the identity of the suspect.

On Wednesday, Fairfax County Police released new images of the alleged slasher. Police spokesperson Lucy Caldwell says an 18-year-old woman was in the Forever 21 store in Fair Oaks Mall around 5:30 p.m. Monday when she heard someone come up behind her and drop either clothes or a package.

At the same time, she felt a piercing pain in her buttocks. She then realized she had been slashed in her rear end, through her denim shorts, by an unknown weapon - probably a box cutter or razor.

The victim suffered a one and a half inch wound, police say.

“He slashes them with a cutting knife or razor - across the buttocks,” Caldwell said.

A store employee contacted security, who got in touch with Fairfax County Police.

They’re looking for a heavy-set Hispanic male, 5 feet 6 inches tall, in his later 20s or early 30s. He wore white shorts and a short-sleeved shirt in the July 25 assault.

Detectives say this attack may be linked to four others in retail stores in Fairfax County since February. In each case, the suspect distracts the victims before cutting them. Caldwell says all of the victims were females in their teens or early 20's.

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Brad Garrett says the man may suffer from asexual disorder called piquerism, a form of sadomasochism. This would mean he derives pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from stabbing another person.

“The person gets sexual gratification from humiliating and hurting others,” Garrett says.

Garrett believes the attacker will continue to seek out victims in shopping malls where there are plenty of young women.

“He will keep doing it until he gets caught,” Garrett said. “It's absolutely an obsession and they have to keep doing it and doing it.”

Police advise woman to pay attention to their surrounding and call if they notice anything unusual. Shoppers Ingrid Braun says she is taking precautions.

“I wouldn't go in alone…I would be sure to take an older man,” the Oakton woman said.

Another attack occurred in a Marshall's at Greenbriar Shopping Center around 2:45 p.m. on June 20. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 703-691-2131.

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