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Police search for suspect in attacks on women in Rochester

Andrew Hyman
Updated: July 04, 2020 12:40 PM
Created: July 03, 2020 11:30 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Michelle Vu says she runs around the Park Avenue area alone almost every night after work, and now, she may change that.

She says it’s in response to a recent number of attacks on women in the Rochester area, Rochester Police announced Friday they’re looking for a man they believe could be connected to each incident.

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The man was allegedly involved in the following incidents

  • June 27 at 5:40 a.m. - A man attempted to enter a woman's apartment in the 30 block of South Goodman Street. 
  • June 27 at 2:45 a.m. - A man approached three women and attempted to inappropriately grab them in the area of 420 Oxford St. The suspect fled in a dark older Dodge Neon towards Monroe Ave.
  • July 1 at 12:40 a.m. - A man followed the victim up her driveway and inappropriately touched her on Washburn Park. The suspect ran to a dark-colored sedan and drove away towards Mt. Vernon Street.
  • July 1 at 11:55 a.m. - A man followed a victim in the 200 block of Culver Road. The suspect approached the victim and inappropriately grabbed her.  
  • July 2 at 8:20 a.m. - A woman was jogging on Park Avenue and Argyle Street when a man emerged from bushes and aggressively followed her while recording her with his cellphone. The suspect followed the victim into an apartment building, but left the scene when he was confronted. 
  • July 2 at 10:40 a.m. - A man followed a victim into the parking garage at 28 North Fitzhugh St. and inappropriately touched her.
  • July 2 at 2:06 p.m. - A man approached a victim in the area of 30 North Fitzhugh St. and exposed himself to her before fleeing on foot. 

"It's really scary," Vu said.

Further down Park Avenue, Krysta Tomaszewski was walking with friends, she found the developments "shocking."

"Someone's in the comfort of their driveway, like how do you know you're in trouble when you're in the comfort of your own driveway?” Tomaszewski said. “So that's the scary part."

Though, she says, what's even scarier, are the stats. According to the nonprofit organization, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network,(RAINN) an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds, with 55% of those incidents happening at or near where someone lives. And while it reports sexual violence is nationally on the decline, only about five out of every 1,000 offenders end up behind bars.

For Vu, who is in residency as an OBGYN, she says she’s seen several survivors come through her unit.

"I think it's a very scary real thing the people in Rochester are dealing with, and women are extremely traumatized by it," Vu said.

With the man police are looking for still out there, both Vu and Tomaszewski say more needs to be done to try and curb future attacks, from stronger enforcement-to more awareness and conversation.

"So that I don't see patients coming into the emergency department for these reasons," Vu said.

Though, Tomaszewski isn't changing her routine.

"It shouldn't scare you so much that you don't go out and do your everyday thing, like go out to dinner and stuff like that," Tomaszewski said.

Police describe the suspect as a black male in his late teens to early 20s with short dreads or braids. He was seen wearing stonewashed jeans and black sweatpants, white socks, black Nike flip-flops, blue hat with red logo (likely the logo of the Buffalo Bills), and a black long sleeve shirt. 

If you see him, police ask that you call 911 so that an officer can immediately respond. 

If you recognize him, please call 911, 311, or Crime Stoppers at 585-423-9300. 

If you, or someone you know has been impacted by sexual violence, the National Organization for Women in Rochester offers a variety of resources, which you can find here.


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