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'Teardrop rapist' sought as LAPD renews focus on series of cases

April 24, 2012 |  9:31 am

A man known as the "teardrop rapist" is being sought in connection with as many as 28 sexual assaults in South Los Angeles and Koreatown dating back more than 13 years, authorities said Tuesday.

Police, who are conducting a manhunt for the rapist, are scheduled to hold a midday news  conference and will release a sketch of the suspect.

Few details of the string of sexual assaults have been released, though police said one of the victims was 14 years old and that most of the attacks took place before 2003. It was not immediately clear why interest in the "teardrop rapist" had been revived.

The attacker targets his victims in the early mornings, authorities said, and typically is armed with a knife, and sometimes a gun.

In 2003,  the LAPD appealed for help after a June 20 attack on a 15-year-old girl who was walking in the area of Hoover Avenue and Gage Avenue.

Police said a man approached the girl, asking for directions. When she stopped to help, he pulled out a gun and steered her to an alley, where he tried to sexually assault her before running away.

Between February 1999 and January 2003, there were 20 similar incidents believed to be the work of the same suspect.

At the time of the earlier attacks, the assailant was described as a male Latino with brown eyes, brown hair, standing 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-9 and weighing about 150 pounds. Witnesses at the time described him as being 30 to 40 years old.

In those earlier incident, the suspect wore a dark hooded sweatshirt, a green bandanna and black baseball cap or dark colored beanie to cover his head.

Police said the rapist is believed to have one or more teardrop-shaped tattoos beneath one of his eyes.

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-- Richard Winton

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