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'Ear Gauge Stalker' sexually assaulted two Sylmar women, police say

Los Angeles police are warning Sylmar residents about a man who they say committed two sexual assaults within an hour of each other early Sunday morning.

In a statement released Tuesday, detectives say the man assaulted two women living in the same apartment complex in the 12000 block of Dronfield Avenue. In one case, Lt. Paul Vernon said the man reached under a woman’s dress and groped her. He ran away when the woman began to scream.

The second attack occurred about an hour later, Vernon said, when he carried and dragged a woman 60 feet to a secluded area and tried to remove her clothing. Two bystanders intervened when the woman began to scream and the attacker fled.

“Neither woman was physically harmed in either case,”  said Vernon, head of the Mission Detective Division.  “But these were two bold, public encounters within the same complex and within one hour’s time.”

Authorities say the suspect is in his mid-twenties, and has been described by the victims as wearing large gauges in both earlobes. The man  was about  5 foot 8, 160 pounds, either wearing a hooded sweatshirt or a baseball cap, the LAPD’s statement said. Police have dubbed the suspect the “Ear Gauge Stalker."

The man engaged both women in small talk prior to the assault, police said. One woman was pushing her baby in a stroller about 2:40 a.m. Sunday when he approached, and the second woman was walking back to her apartment, police said.

Vernon said police have received a tip that the suspect “visits someone in the complex regularly.”

Police are urging anyone with information to call Det. Luz Montero, with the Mission Area sexual assault unit, at (818) 838-9975. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

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--Matt Stevens  

 
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