Authorities are continuing to search for a man suspected of trying to abduct three different women near the University of Arizona campus in Tucson over the last week. Police have identified at least two of the victims as students at the university, both of whom were assaulted in the incidents. CBS affiliateKOLDreported that the third woman is a student there as well.
The abduction attempts happened on three different days and in three different off-campus locations, the Tucson Police Department said in anews release. The latest incident happened Sunday before 6 p.m., when officers with the University of Arizona Police Department received a callfrom a student who reported that a man approached her from behind, put his arm around her waist and assaulted her. She screamed, and the man ran off. The student was not injured, police said.
After the latest incident, another victim reported to Tucson Police’s sexual assault unit that she had been followed by a driver matching the suspect’s description on Wednesday morning, Dec. 6. That victim was able to share an updated description of both the suspect and and his vehicle to investigators.
Police have described the suspect as a man with a dark complexion who is possibly Hispanic. He stands between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet tall, with a medium to heavyset build and “close buzz cut hair,” Tucson police said. The suspect was seen driving a “dark purplish four-door hatchback or crossover vehicle with a dented front bumper, tinted windows, and no front license plate,” according to police. KOLD reported that the car is either a dark blue 2000s Toyota Camry or Toyota Corolla.
Earlier, on Dec. 8, a University of Arizona student initially reported having been followed by a man in his car while she was walking just two blocks from campus. The car stopped, and the man jumped out and grabbed the victim from behind. When the student dropped to the ground and screamed, the suspect returned to his vehicle and drove away, police said.
Tucson police are leading an investigation into the string of crimes, with university police assisting their search. Detectives were waiting to review forensic evidence on Tuesday, after interviewing the latest victim and canvassing the area.
During a news conference Wednesday, Chris Dennison, the assistant police chief in Tucson, asked members of the surrounding community to help by joining the police department’s open camera registry, KOLD reported. The registry “allows residents and business owners to voluntarily register their surveillance cameras with the police department,” according to the city, which notes in a description online that authorities “will not have access to the camera systems but will be aware that a camera exists when investigating a crime in or around the neighborhood.”
Police said that both the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service have also joined their search for the suspect, according to KOLD.