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Suspect in Costa Mesa sexual assault remains at large, police say

February 14, 2013 |  1:50 pm

A man who partially covered his face with a bandanna entered an apartment in Costa Mesa, confronted an 18-year-old woman with a knife and then sexually assaulted her, police said Thursday.

After assaulting the woman at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, the assailant fled through a window in the victim’s apartment on Valencia Street, according to a police statement.

The attacker remained at large Thursday afternoon.

It was unclear how the assailant gained access to the unit as there were no signs of forced entry, Costa Mesa police said.

About four hours after the assault a crime scene investigator saw a man generally matching the description of the assailant flee through an alley near Mission Drive and La Salle Avenue, possibly toward a nearby flood-control channel, police said. 

A resident attempted to chase the man after hearing the activity in the alley, police said.

The attacker may have been involved in a previous crime, police said. On Jan. 27, a man tried to assault a 32-year-old woman in an apartment at Mendoza and Mission drives but was scared off, police said.

Police described the suspect as thin, between 5 feet 5 and 5 feet 10 with dark skin, possibly African American, and in his 20s or 30s. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, possibly over a white T-shirt.

A composite sketch of the suspect was not available.

Police urged residents to lock windows and doors. Anyone who sees suspicious activity is asked to call police at (714) 754-5252.

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— Lauren Williams, Times Community News

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