Prince George's County Police hunt down possible serial rapist in Bladensburg
BLADENSBURG, Md. (WJLA) – Prince George’s County Police detectives fanned out across a Bladensburg neighborhood Friday night, in hopes of tracking down a possible serial rapist.
"It's like shock," said Rafael Tibia, who spoke briefly with investigators. "Police knock on the door and tell us about this."
Carrying leaflets in both English and Spanish, detectives knocked at homes along the 4100 block of 54th Street, the area of an attack on Wednesday night.
"I'm scared for the area," said Latin salon owner Maria Garcia, who says she's concerned for the safety of her clientele.
"I [make] sure my customers have secured a ride. But it's dark. I'm sorry, it's too dark," she added.
Police are now investigating three sexual assaults, all within a 10-minute walk of each other.
"We've stepped up patrols, both covert and overt," said Prince George’s County Police Officer Michael Owen, a department spokesperson. "Some things you can see, some things you can't see."
The Wednesday attack occurred around 7:45 p.m.
"They just told us that somebody got hit in the head," Christian Garcia said.
Investigators say the victim was then sexually assaulted.
Now, detectives believe her attacker may be connected to two previous assaults, one on Sept. 8, 2014, near a wooded trail along the 5100 block of Quincy Street, and again on Oct. 20, along the 5800 block of Annapolis Road.
"Does something like this surprise you, that something like this could happen?" Tibia was asked.
"Yes, big time," he answered. "We don't have any of these things happening in this neighborhood.”
Police aren't saying how the cases are linked. But the after-dark nature of the most recent attack has some residents nervous.
"We definitely need to up the security around here," Christian Garcia said. "There’s dark streets. The city needs to put in new lighting."
Residents now say they'll keep a watchful eye on each other.
"Watch each other, help each other," Tibia said. "Protect our families."
"It's shocking to hear stuff like that happens," Christian Garcia said.
Prince George’s County Police have only a vague description of the suspect. They say he is about 6 feet tall and between 30 and 40 years old. They've posted a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.