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Man attacking women who are alone at night in downtown Ann Arbor

Posted at 9:13 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 05:45:02-04

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — A dangerous predator targeting women in the downtown Ann Arbor area is prompting an alert from police to stay vigilant. This comes after three separate vicious attacks, all happening after dark.

The locations include Nickels Arcade between State Street and Maynard, at Catherine Street and North Division, and at West Huron and Ashley.

Each one of these attacks happened in the downtown area. In each instance, police say the victims were alone after dark.

On the streets of Ann Arbor, police are looking to question a man identified as a person of interest in connection with as many as three violent assaults in the past few days, including one sexual assault.

“In one instance, the suspect appeared in a driveway between two residences in front of the victim,” said Lt. Bonnie Theil with the Ann Arbor Police Department.

Lt. Theil says women being ambushed range in age from their 20s to their early 60s, with one woman being a University of Michigan student.

Attacks were potentially all by the same person. Police say the attacker punched and tried to choke victims and on Sunday night, he took things further with a sexual assault on a woman exiting a porta-john.

“He pushed her back in. Physically and sexually assaulted her. She also yelled for help and broke free. He then left the porta john,” Lt. Theil said.

Police say in the first two cases late Friday and very early on Saturday. Women also escaped after yelling for help that's after the man told them to stay quiet.

“This is concerning because of the similarities and frequencies of these attacks,” Lt. Theil said.

Police are now stressing the importance of staying alert, not traveling alone and only being in well-lit areas.

“We and the U of M police have both stepped up patrols,” Lt. Theil said.

Victims describe the attacker as being in his 20s, 6 feet tall, with a thin build. This case has now become the main focus of detectives here in Ann Arbor, as people downtown exercise caution.

Ann Arbor police are also getting help from U of M police and looking at more surveillance videos. If you have any information on these assaults, contact police.