Police find possible link between recent burglaries

There have been nine accounted for since June 26.

Five burglaries have been reported in downtown Columbia and East Campus since the end of June.

For the first time since the investigations began, the Columbia Police Department released a news release detailing and suggesting a possible connection between the incidents.

No arrests have been made yet.

The first documented case was June 29. The most recent case reported was Nov. 17.

There are nine total. The suspect description in all cases appears to match. The suspect is a white, or possibly “Middle-Eastern,” male in his 20s, with medium height and build. Though clothing has varied throughout police reports, there have been multiple incidents describing a man with a heavy accent, according to a CPD news release.

“(CPD has) not been able to get a lot usable information that would lead to a clear identification of the suspect,” CPD Assistant Chief Jill Schlude said in an email.

The majority of the evidence is coming from victims of the crimes, and to a lesser extent witnesses, Schlude said.

The crimes occur at night, while the victims are asleep.

The reported incidents are as follows:

Anthony Street: Around 12:32 a.m Nov. 26, the suspect entered through an unlocked door and awoke the victim when he made a noise. The victim screamed and the suspect fled.

South William Street: Around 5:50 a.m. Nov. 11, the victim awoke when the suspect touched her. According to the news release, the victim kicked the suspect, screaming before he fled.

Anthony Street: Around 2:45 a.m. Nov. 3, the suspect entered through an unlocked door, or possibly used a key. According to the news release, the victim awoke when she felt the suspect crawling into bed on top of her. The suspect fled as the victim screamed.

University Ave: Around 6:00 a.m Oct. 28, the suspect entered through an unlocked door and awoke the victim upon entering her bedroom. As the victim began to scream the suspect fled.

Locust Street: Around 4:45 a.m. Oct. 26, the suspect entered through an unlocked door and awoke the victim when he tried to remove her clothes. According to the news release, the suspect threatened the victim with a sharp object and told her he would kill her. The suspect sexually assaulted the victim and fled.

Anthony Street: Around 1:50 a.m Oct. 20, the suspect entered through an unlocked door and the victim awoke to find the suspect standing by her bed. According to the news release, the suspect jumped on her bed and told the victim not to say anything. After the victim screamed the suspect allegedly struck her several times in the chest with his fists before fleeing.

E Walnut Street: Around 3:11 a.m. Aug. 22, the suspect entered through an unlocked door and awoke the victim after she felt someone in her bed. According to the news release, the victim saw the suspect in her bed with no shirt. The suspect fled after the victim yelled at him.

E Walnut Street: Between 1:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. July 26, the suspect entered through an unlocked door and awoke the victim when he touched her. According to the news release the suspect was lying in her bed nude. The suspect fled after the victim yelled at him.

E Walnut Street: Around 3:35 a.m. July 21, the suspect entered through an unlocked door and awoke the victim when he touched her. According to the news release, the suspect appeared to have his pants down and fled when the victim spoke to him.

Schlude said without a better suspect description the best CPD can do is continue to encourage the community to lock their doors and windows and call police if concerned about suspicious activity.

To ensure safety, police officers will proactively patrol the area whenever possible, Schlude said. Beat officers in East Campus and the downtown area are aware of the incidents and Schlude said the Street Crimes Unit, along with CPD detectives, will be in the area as well.

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