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Posted on Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor mayor says investigation into 5 recent attacks on women is high priority

By Lee Higgins

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje said an investigation into five recent attacks on women in the city, including two rapes Monday, is being treated "with the highest priority."

Police Chief Barnett Jones can have "whatever resources he needs in the way of overtime" to get to the bottom of the case, Hieftje said.


More stories on recent attacks on women in Ann Arbor:

Hieftje said police have briefed him on a number of strategies being employed in the investigation, but declined to discuss specifics. "They're doing everything necessary," he said. "Everything that can be done to get this under control."

Jones could not be reached for comment Friday.

Detectives are investigating five attacks in four days, including two rapes downtown Monday that occurred 22 hours apart. In each case, women walking alone were targeted late at night or early in the morning. In all five, the height of the attacker is similar. In two, the description of the attacker is the same. Earlier this week, police suggested a possible serial rapist scenario, but since said they have nothing linking the attacks other than that women walking alone were apparently targeted at random.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for assaultsuspectjpg.jpg

Ann Arbor Police released this composite sketch of a man suspected in a rape on South State Street.

Heather Leh, 28, of Fenton, who has been staying with friends in Ann Arbor, said in light of the attacks, women can't leave a party or bar on their own.

"It's horrible because you want to have your independence," she said. "I think women just have to use the buddy system, because obviously he sees people are alone."

The attacks occurred in a little more than a 72-hour span.

About 10:10 p.m. July 15, a 21-year-old Ann Arbor woman was walking near Thompson and East Liberty streets when a man grabbed her around the neck, police said. The woman resisted, broke free and was not injured. The attacker was described as white, 29 years of age, 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 165 pounds, with a medium build.

Fifty minutes later, a man grabbed a 19-year-old Ypsilanti woman in the 400 block of North Division Street near Community High School and attempted to pull her into a secluded area, but she got away. Then, about 2 a.m. Saturday, a man grabbed a 22-year-old Ann Arbor woman from behind in the 900 block of Greenwood Avenue, lifted up her dress and fondled her before she broke free, police said. In the North Division Street and Greenwood Avenue attacks, the man was described as 5 feet, 6 inches tall with an olive complexion. He had no facial hair and was wearing a zipped-up black hooded sweatshirt and khaki cargo pants.

The most serious two attacks occurred Monday. About 12:40 a.m., an 18-year-old Ann Arbor woman was pulled into an alley and raped in the 700 block of South State Street near the University of Michigan. In that case, the man was described as white, between 5 feet, 6 inches and 5 feet, 10 inches tall, with brown hair and brown eyes. He was wearing a green T-shirt and khaki cargo pants.

And between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. Monday, a man followed a 26-year-old Ypsilanti woman into an elevator in the Liberty Square parking structure and raped her. The victim didn't go to a hospital. She came forward Thursday, calling a tip line to report the attack after seeing media attention about the other assaults, police spokeswoman Lt. Renee Bush said.

Barbara Niess May, executive director of the SafeHouse Center in Pittsfield Township, which offers support for victims of sexual and domestic assault, said reporting sexual assaults can be difficult. Often, victims fear people will blame them for not doing enough to protect themselves, she said. When someone's assaulted, she said, people must be willing to listen.

“I commend the folks for coming forward and reporting (the assaults)," she said. "That must have been a very difficult thing to do. Stay strong, you’ll get through it and he’ll be held accountable.”

Niess May said the SafeHouse Center's anonymous 24-hour phone line offers victims a place to call for advice or help. Victims are encouraged to report crimes, she said, but everything spoken about will remain confidential. “We have counselors, we have legal advocates who can help explain the system that they would wind up being in,” she said. “It’s difficult, but it’s also something that folks can get past.”

Ann Arbor police said they are working closely with University of Michigan police and disseminating information to neighborhood watch groups.

University police have stepped up patrols on and near Central Campus, particularly in the late night and early morning hours, spokeswoman Diane Brown said. Police are reminding people to be aware of their surroundings, walk in pairs and stay in well-lit areas.

The Downtown Development Authority and Republic Parking have been posting sketches of the suspect in the first of Monday's two rapes in all downtown parking structures. Republic Parking also is increasing the frequency with which its managers patrol the parking structures on foot and in vehicles.

Graydon Krapohl, who heads the neighborhood watch effort for the Lower Burns Park Neighborhood Association, sent an email to members with information on the recent attacks. He continually monitors crime in the city and said his goal is to make sure his neighbors have the necessary resources to stay safe. “We border some of the area where some of the events have happened,” he said. “What we try to do is make sure people are aware of what’s going on. If people are aware, they are less likely to put themselves in a position to be a victim.”

Jerry Baber, 57, of Pinckney, a maintenance supervisor who often works downtown, said the attacker is simply looking for the most vulnerable targets. "I do hope they catch him and he gets what's deserved," Baber said.

Crime Stoppers is offering up to a $1,000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man responsible for the first of Monday's two rapes. Anyone with information can call the police department's tip line at (734) 794-6939 or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) SPEAK UP.

- staff writer Heidi Fenton contributed reporting for this article

Lee Higgins covers crime and courts for He can be reached by phone at (734) 623-2527 and email at


Candis Hale

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 3:56 a.m.

so I believe that they should have a under cover sexy girl cop go out and roam around dt ann arbor with many police near but not able to be seen.

Cindy Chu

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

I made a Google Map of where all the incidences occurred. Please share with your female friends in Ann Arbor. We need to catch this creeper. In the meanwhile, all ladies be wary of your surroundings, and try to use the buddy system. Pepper spray is good to have on hand as well. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Jill Bridges

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 12:10 a.m.

I wish we didn't refer to the state street rape as the &quot;most serious.&quot; The &quot;hierarchy&quot; of sexual assault is part of what makes victims try and downplay their assault for fear of not being taken seriously. There is nothing that isn't gravely serious about being forcibly fondled or grabbed around the neck. I know that's not what the reporter meant, but these kind of unconscious word choices are damaging to women.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 6:53 p.m.

thank you.


Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 12:23 p.m.

UM has had a lot of summer camps going on the last few it possible the suspect came into town for one of these? Just a thought....


Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 9:57 a.m.

Okay you interviewed the DDA Director Friday, The Mayor on Saturday.......WHERE is the Chief of Police in this town? Unavailable for comment??? Or after he made the comment about driving homeless people from Jackson when he worked there and dumping them in Ann he not allowed to take interviews? This is serious and the chief should have stepped up from the beginning to talk to the citizens. Say what you want about Dan Oates.....he would step up when bad things happened and take responsibility.


Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 7:37 a.m.

I hope this criminal is caught very soon. These crimes sicken me. (Fellow commentors, please note that I support the city of A2 although I don't live there. I didn't talk down about A2 or leave a &quot;Thank God I don't live in A2&quot; comment. The community is larger than just your own city, wherever that may be, and crime effects us all. I hope your future comments will reflect that fact the next time you comment on crime or crime prevention in another city.)

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 5:14 a.m.

eagleman said, &quot;So your answer to budget shortfalls is to reject a revenue generating millage? Does not Ann Arbor have a serious budget crisis? If so, that leaves three options: make cuts, raise taxes, or do both.&quot; Answer, Ann Arbor does not have anything but an artificially manufactured crises in its General Fund brought about by the deliberate draining of it by transfer charges into opaque buckets for the purpose of depriving citizens of Ann Arbor basic city services. In short, the current council and mayor have better things to do with the citizen's tax money than to spend it on basic safety services. The road repair fund is a particularly egregious example of how the city allocates resources so as to disadvantage citizens. This fund has accumulated $28 million while the city has cut in half the usual or historical number of miles of road repaired annually. I say that when the city drains this bucket of its $28 million surplus, then and only then should a renewal of the streets repair millage be approved. Here is the bottom line: I don't trust this council and mayor to spend the citizen's money on the right priorities and I don't want to give them any more money than the absolute minimum to play with. When we get a council and mayor that has a much clearer vision of how to make Ann Arbor a more liveable place that has a demonstrated commitment to improving the quality of life here, then I will be in favor of providing more funds to the city.


Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 5:09 a.m.

It's only superficially true to say that cuts in police are not connected to these assaults because: if the rate of such crimes continues at above normal levels, then we can see that as confirmation that these cuts are at least partly a cause. Same holds for the recent assaults on males and for other crimes like home invasions, burglaries and other types of felonies. We have to wait and see - and then we'll be looking back and it may be a long time before these Republican inspired cuts can be restored (hopefully along with a more informed attitude toward taxes). Mayor Hieftje isn't responsible for these cuts: it's a matter of lack of funding and he certainly isn't responsible for that lack. He's in the same position as every other mayor in Michigan and the U.S. His only role is the proper one: to do the best possible to provide what's needed to keep our city operating during this right wing assault on public services. Regarding these assaults: some would say that this new (supposedly temporary) emphasis on self defense which has arisen because of the assaults are a &quot;good thing&quot; - meaning there are those who believe in total self reliance without any government assistance. Well, self reliance is a good thing but - every western country and many others besides have been insistent about providing additional protection through police services. There ARE some crimes and threats which the individual alone cannot cope with. (street gangs is one of those). Right wing absolutists not withstanding: we know we need government (paid for by citizens) to protect us as individuals and as communities.

Stuart Brown

Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 1:43 a.m.

The decisions by the mayor and council to divert money from police and fire services was and is political. The decisions by the mayor and council to subsidize UofM's parking needs while cutting safety services was and is political. The fact that Fuller pool was closed during some of the hottest days of the year resulted from staff cuts dictated by the current mayor and council was and is political. The decision to save up $28 million in the streets repair fund while Ann Arbor's streets crumble was and is political. The decision to privatize city services was and is political. The fact that this mayor and council are usually too busy holding court with business developers to worry about the basic needs of Ann Arbor's citizens is coming through loud and clear by the lack of responsiveness to this latest serial rape case. This mayor and council are a day late and a dollar short! The best way for citizens to express their displeasure with this current mayor and council is to vote down the streets repair millage that will appear on the ballot next November.


Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 3:04 a.m.

So your answer to budget shortfalls is to reject a revenue generating millage? Does not Ann Arbor have a serious budget crisis? If so, that leaves three options: make cuts, raise taxes, or do both.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 11:16 p.m.

On what to blame the city for, or not: Perhaps we can all agree on the streetlamps. Near the site of the Community High School attack, several lamps are out and one must walk in almost complete darkness to get through that area (for example, the block of Catherine between Division and Fifth- totally dark). The area is downright attractive for crime until those lamps are re-lit. Lighting is a relatively inexpensive way to deter these kinds of crimes and to make it easier for people to be aware of their surroundings. As for the cuts to the public safety force, perhaps we can agree that complaining about cuts to the police force is not the same thing as just complaining about the quality of the police. We want more! An increase in arson, drunk driving and other violent crimes is to be expected in an economic downturn. If we saw more drunk driving accidents and more arson, could we be worried about cuts to police (who often catch drunk drivers before they can murder people) and firefighters (who can put out fires, saving lives and property)? No one is suggesting that the city created this criminal, but that it was short-sighted to cut public safety at a time when the need for it will predictably increase. Finally, there are several controversial issues underlying the topic of women's safety from sexual assault. A recurring theme in our discussion here is whether or not people SHOULD walk around as if they were safe. The ultimate goal for all of us, though, should be safety that would empower people to walk around as if it were safe. And such an ideal also helps prevent victim-blaming, a specter which has not come up yet here but which is a bit of a danger for us when we start talking about what women should do to protect themselves. Let's remind ourselves of the 100% foolproof ways of preventing rape (hint: it has nothing to do with your dress): <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Robert Stone

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 9:49 p.m.

The solution: <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;view=article&amp;id=6&amp;Itemid=18</a>

Fat Bill

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

I know that myself and my co-workers, all of whom spend a large amount of time working in the campus area, are looking around and would love the opportunity to get our hands on this perpetrator...

John A2

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

I believe this has something to do with the Art Fair, whether its ans artisan, artisan staff, or gypsy nomad, It started as the fair came to town.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

New York City has 30,000 cops, yet they have quite a few crimes, many of which go unsolved. More cops may or may not have prevented these crimes. Any suggestion that it would is pure speculation. That being said, more cops on the street leads to an increased sense of security. Ann Arbor has to ask itself whether it is okay to have to be more aware of people lurking in the dark in order to enjoy this beautiful city.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

Eagleman, you are right New York has 30,000 cops! And with the population of 8,175,133 people that makes it 1 officer per 272 people. Ann Arbor 115,000 population and 124 sworn officers is 972 people per 1 officer. Good luck with the math. Ann Arbor is worse off


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:34 p.m.

Men are also attacked and sometimes raped. I would guess they are less likely to report these crimes. They should also heed the precautions for walking alone. I am sad to see that people are more interested in making this into a political debate about the police than in talking about the real issues behind rape. Rape is the use of sex to prove power over another person. It has nothing to do with sexual attractiveness of the victim or anything that he or she does or doesn't do. This applies to date rape as well as rape by a stranger. This society still believes that rape is an act of sexual passion. The victim is still blamed. Men are always able to control their sexual desires. It is easier to debate the effectiveness of the police than to consider our own attitudes and whether or not we contribute to a society where rape and other violence toward women are, under the rhetoric, seen as acceptable.

Paige Briana

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 6:52 p.m.

Thank you for actually addressing the issue at hand.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

Sigh. ALL of you advocating Wasp Spray for self defense, please cite YOUR PERSONAL experiences using it for this purpose. OR at least your second hand information from reputable self defense experts or law enforcement... uh huh, thought so. Please read this : <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and this: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Look any weapon to fend off an attack is better than nothing but plan accordingly and get appropriate tools. You can get OC about anywhere you can get Wasp Spray. You can also get training with OC that you cannot with Wasp Spray. It is completely irresponsible to suggest Wasp Spray as an alternative to LEGAL 10 % OC as it may be both ineffective AND open the victim to liability both legal and civil. for you to leave such suggestions up leaves you morally culpable as well. I highly recommend taking such suggestions down.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

It is irresponsible to advocate doing something illegal. The other downfall to wasp spray is this. Let's say a nervous person is walking down the street with wasp spray. A person taps her on the shoulder and sprays them and PERMANENTLY blinds somebody who was asking for direction, or maybe it happens to be a friend. A mistake made with pepper spray is painful, but curable. Not so much with wasp spray. There is also the problem you could accidentally hit an innocent bystander since the wasp spray can be used at a distance.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 5:24 p.m.

yes agreed. it should not be up to someone else how or with what we choose to defend our lives, should it? meanwhile back in the real world self defense does not exclude such thoughts...


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

It says something about our legal system that a victim could be held legally or civilly liable for an act of self-defense. An attacker should have no right to sue or press charges for any act committed by the victim during the assault.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

All this (banter) back and forth is quite amusing ... The simple fact is that crime happens everywhere ~ some areas have more victim-related crime than others ... The appropriate staffing of Police Departments has been the topic of similar discussions for many years and will continue to be a topic of concern ... BUT, only in extreme circumstances should crime be blamed on the perceived under-staffing of a PD. The recent victim-related crimes in A2 should NOT be blamed on the PD (quality of service or amount of Officers). Every street corner and alley will NEVER be manned by a Police Officer at all times, and there will ALWAYS be those who will commit such heinous acts upon others. In my professional and personal opinion, A2's crime rate is quite favorable (comparatively speaking) in SE Michigan. The punk who committed the recent local attacks will either be caught or go into hiding due to the public outcry and the PD's diligence.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

Gramma - yes, there are documented cases of serial rapists who continue their acts over a (long) period of time without being caught. However, such cases are very rare and your example occurred 40 years ago. I agree with your assessment in regard to the mental makeup of some past serial rapists ... but there is not enough information as of yet to determine the mental makeup/motives of the current perpetrator ... it is easy to surmise such factors at this point but that would be quite subjective, indeed. Let the PD (and public) do what is needed and we shall see what happens.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

John Norman Collins, the MI coed killer 1970, continued to kill for 2-3 years. He also took a vacation to California and killed there. The PD of the time was very vigilant and the newspapers were filled with articles about how women could protect themselves. A serial rapist or murderer feels emboldened by his successes and needs to up the ante to get the same thrill as time goes on. It is a form of addiction.

Crawford Milling

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

Fewer cops means the city has to pay more overtime to have an overworked and fatigued police force. Ann Arbor is home to Michigan's safest and slowest drivers, so stop looking for traffic tickets and look for the bad guys, who are usually on foot or bike. If the police are short on funds, hold a millage vote, maybe it will pass this time.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

&quot; Ann Arbor is home to Michigan's safest and slowest drivers &quot; Thank you, I needed a good laugh. I hope you meant that as a joke.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

Wasp spray is more effective than pepper and will work to keep someone farther away. The perpetrator will not open his eyes again until he has been to a hospital emergency room.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

proof please. this is an irresponsible suggestion.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

Where do you get this? I may pick up a few bottles for my family.

Antoine Dodson

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 3:12 p.m.

Rapist: You don't have come and confess, we gonna find you. So you can ran and tell that, homeboy.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:59 p.m.

A question for those posters who believe the budget cuts are contributing to the continuation of this rape spree: if the Mayor snapped his fingers and eliminated the police budget cuts, exactly how many additional police officers would be out patrolling the streets per shift? One, two? Not exactly the dramatic picture (of &quot;hundreds&quot; of officers) being painted in a lot of the comments. Cutting the police and fire budgets was absolutely unacceptable, but to claim that the budget cuts make it easier for a serial rapist to offend and that the AAPD is now less competent is also unacceptable.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

My heart goes out to the women that have been assaulted....I fervently hope they all realize that the crimes perptrated against them was a brutal beating but in a different manner, this guy uses his hands to assault as well as his penis...but still beating these women just the same...Ladies, please know I'm saying a little extra prayer for all of you to gather the strength to survive this assualt.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

I have every bit of faith in AAPD that they will make this a high priority and use every resource they have to find this scum. How the layoff's and staff reduction affects Ann Arbor you ask..... now the rest of non-priority and lower but still serious crimes will be put on the back burner. Years ago while the last &quot;Serial-rapist/ murder&quot; was stalking our community, a second serial rapist and a serial bank robber were also on the loose. AAPD was able to commit the needed resources to all of these as well as handle calls for service and investigate the lesser crimes coming across the desk. All were caught and are in prison. You can only spread your resources so thin, and in my opinion Ann Arbor is at their limit. That is the real cost of these staff reductions. Disney land is not all milk and honey.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.

It is important to remember that the severity of serial sexual attacks often increases over time. Voyeurs do become rapists, etc. Since he has had two &quot;successes,&quot; he may become more bold and more forceful. I remember the attacks in the mid-90's and I also remember the rape-torture-murders around 1970. I hope that women will take steps to protect themselves. Weapons (pepper spray, etc) can sometimes be turned against you. Learning self defense tactics can be helpful. Be alert as you walk. Don't walk with your head down and shoulders slumped. Be alert for the sounds of someone approaching and shadows from behind you. On less traveled streets, walk in the middle of the street. Use your cell to call 911 if you believe you are being followed.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

That's true, and then the guy in the nineties killed a woman up at Maple. Yes, it was a cabbie who spotted him, but I remember the police were out year looking hard, and had tracked his footsteps to a place on the Northside. It's terrible that police were cut, there's really no good argument for that, and it does matter for overall safety. My elderly folks lived in Flint and moved out about 5 years ago. Their car was being stolen out of their driveway while they were home and they called the police, who said, they would be there in 24 hours, because it wasn't a homicide...luckily the thief couldn't figure out how to change gears and the car stalled and he ran off...yeah, the number of police officers is very important, so Jenna Thom, stop being an apologist for what is a negative situation.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

Why this is Happening: Can we blame George W. Bush for this? This series of attacks started just before the Art Fair started so it must be related? Ann Arbor cut the Police force and this lead to the current crime wave? Maybe the Hot weather cause by Global Warming fried this guy's brain and turned him into a sex machine? The women in Ann Arbor are so good looking that a man cannot control himself? :) Budgets cut by Gov. Snyder caused this?

say it plain

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

That's so haha funny joking about rape, woohoo... Maybe the rapist is having a good laugh somewhere with like-minded buds joking about the attractiveness levels of the women he attacked. Hmm, I have a causal connection for ya geniuses to consider! Perhaps it is the notion--created in endless subtle and none-too-subtle ways in our society-- that women are little bits of delicious candy out there to be taken by auto-pilot brain-dead men that helps 'create' rapists? I really detest this 'joking' rhetoric,grr, and I'm guessing the 'users' thereof wouldn't want to find themselves living in a society where this notion of &quot;men cannot control themselves&quot; is taken quite seriously, and women walk covered head to toe and/or cannot be out without their obvious 'protector' to make it clear they're not there for the taking.

Antoine Dodson

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 3:10 p.m.

I can assure you that the attractiveness of Ann Arbor women is not the reason for this......


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

Men can always control their sexual urges.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

All of the above ?


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Jenna argue that Heifjte and the city aren't to blame and that AA is safe even after the police cuts, and the ones that have been going on for 10 years? Then why do say &quot; I will change my behavior for awhile until this guy is caught (yes, I think it is one guy) and will not walk alone past dark.&quot; If you feel so safe why are you changing your behavior? You, or any woman, should be able to, in Ann Arbor, walk down the street at any time of the day!!!! No you cannot say that more police would have prevented this attack. However, you cannot argue that one or two or three more patrol vehicles that may have driven by any of these areas wouldn't have given this predator pause to commit his act. For you to argue that AAPD is well staffed shows that you've not seen the average per capita officers in cities our size. Those number are DOUBLE what your Mayor thinks is safe. NOW he is willing to pay overtime &quot;whatever resources he needs in the way of overtime&quot; to get to the bottom of the case, Hieftje said.&quot; Good luck with getting the guy but with only 10 Detectives in the city I'm guessing that everyone elses domestic violence, armed robbery, arson, assault, broken into house will now sit on the back burner until this predator is caught. Good luck citizens, you've now got what you wanted. Good luck being deamed &quot;one of the best places in the country to live&quot; again.

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

Looking at the suspect photo, has anyone checked Matt Damon's alibi?

Ron Granger

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:35 p.m.

It took Ann Arbor police two years to catch the last major serial rapist.. And the suspect was identified by a taxi driver, not police. It is absurd to suggest this is somehow related to cuts in police spending.


Sun, Jul 24, 2011 : 7:23 a.m.

I agree with you Ron, a public that's awake and aware of the facts is the very best defense against crime and criminals. But it's kind of hard for the public (or police) to help in any way; the description of this rapist kept changing. With everyone having something to say, nobody seems to complain about that. Tuh!


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

Ron, The last serial rapist was a few years ago where the suspect was attempting to rape women on Packard and Indpeendence. It took the police less than a week to catch him.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

Certain crimes are not deterred by more police officers. Who is the most protected man in the country with the most amount of police around them? The president of the United States. A crazy person SHOT Ronald Reagan with police right there. Police generally respond to crime, and catch criminals. A seriel rapist or killer would still attempt his crimes until he gets caught. Regardless of if and when the guy is caught, the word should ALWAYS be out that people (not just women) should go out in pairs or have a buddy system and plan in case they are ever attacked. Always think, &quot;what would I do IF..&quot;


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

@2wheels -- No one is suggesting what you claim. Ron is merely making the point that no normal level of police staffing is likely to have prevented these crimes. Catching the perpetrator in such a case is a matter of good police work, luck and the assistance of the public.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

So you're suggesting we get rid of the police, and give their badges and guns to the taxi drivers?


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

Fact is , fewer police , slower response, fewer eyes.I can figure that out and I'm more than likely have the worst math skills of anyone that posts here.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

@Jenna Thom If you're saying there's no connection between crime and the number of officers on the street, then why not just get rid of the police? Your argument is preposterous.* * I'm neither a politician or a blogger. I'm a real person who lives in this town, and owns two houses (and pays taxes on both) who sees a real problem with the city government's completely skewed priorities.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

I also work in this town. Come to think of it, I rarely leave!

Monica R-W

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

Glad to read the opinions of those who are residents of A2 that happened to pay taxes for law enforcement in their city!

Jenna Thom

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

My comment above was meant for Sill Sally

Jenna Thom

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

ignore this, it was meant for the chain above


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

It does not matter if it is a 2 year old blaming his sister or a 50 year old blaming his mother. NOBODY is willing to take responsibility/consequences for their own actions. None of the victims deserved to be attacked. I don't care what time of day or night it was. But we all have to be realistic and realize we can not always govern our own actions by the way things should be.

monroe c

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

Police Chief Barnett Jones can have &quot;whatever resources he needs in the way of overtime&quot; to get to the bottom of the case, Hieftje said. *** Jones could not be reached for comment Friday. Thank you, Lee, for finally asking for comment from the Chief. I was beginning to wonder if was ever going to get his input. But, where is Chief Jones? Lt. Bush &amp; Lt. St. Amour have both commented, along with other representatives from the police department. UMDPS has commented. The DDA has even commented. Not Chief Jones. Five women attacked by, possibly, the same person. Isn't this precisely when we want to hear from the chief of police? Isn't this precisely when he should pipe up? I am usually his biggest cheerleader, but I find his silence in this situation to show a lack of leadership. Come to think of it, I have not seen him making his usual rounds during Art Fair. It makes me think he's already checked out of Ann Arbor. Time to step up and lead, Chief Jones.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

That's public comment.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

Very sad that there is no word from the chief. Of course the only piic comment he has stated since he has been here is, &quot;Cut my staff and the public will not notice a difference in police response&quot;. It seems obvious that the Mayor has a muzzle on him and he can only speak when allowed. If you don't think the criminal element takes notice of a reduction in staffing you are niave.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

Chief Jones does not know how to lead.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

&quot;Everything that can be done to get this under control.&quot; Are you talking about the crimes or the PR?


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

Way to wait a few days before chiming in Mr. Mayor. As for the article, what does Jerry Baber's quote add? Why not just eliminate that whole paragraph? Is there a quote quota for stories

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

The city has over $250 million in cash resources available to it, however the money is trapped in various &quot;buckets&quot; created by the administration and city council and cannot be moved around to where it is needed when it is needed. Better fiscal practices would solve this problem and a city income tax isn't needed. Drain the buckets! Perhaps in future reporting Ann can mention the ten level 4 (most dangerous) sex offenders apparently resident at the homeless shelter downtown or the fact that all the downtown foot patrol &quot;beat cops&quot; were laid off in a previous layoff and that we downtown residents have been warning publicly for over a year now that the lack of a visible police presence is increasingly problematic?


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.

AAnews should keep this photo on the home page until he is caught!

Barbara May

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.

As the Executive Director of SafeHouse Center, it is important to share we are very concerned that the suspect in these cases is still at large, and hope because of law enforcement efforts, he will be caught and not have the opportunity to assault again. Sexual assault is all too common, and survivors deserve support. SafeHouse Center stands ready to be of help to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, as well as their friends and family members, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through our HelpLine at 734-995-5444. Further information about our services can be found on our website at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. Barbara Niess May


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 11:33 a.m.

People are getting carried away with the number of police you're suddenly willing to pay for. To catch this guy that fast we'd only need *hundreds* of beat police, in the downtown only, all night long. I thought the cuts went too far to, but I'm not willing to pay *that* much more in taxes. I'd say we should let the police do their job, all of us be more vigilant when we're out late at night, and remember this the next time they look at the budget. And I hope all of you suddenly interested in a lot more police are equally interested in a city income tax, because that's the only way the city is going to get enough money for lots of additional police over the next few years.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

I can only assume that the new fountain some of our &quot;finest&quot; transients use to bathe in [let's hope not as a urinal as well] came from one of the &quot;buckets&quot; of money that can't be used for anything but a useless fountain...our tax dollars at work...


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:06 p.m. must have forgotten the city just &quot;blew&quot; hundreds of thousands of dollars on trees, when police were laid off recently. Yeah, yeah I know it came from a different &quot;bucket&quot;. By the way AAPD was not over staffed, and is not now. It all boils down to the cities piorities ...which really is making an impact on your safety.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 11:19 a.m.

Am I the only one that is reminded of Mayor Larry Vaughn (from Jaws) when Mayor Leftie finally gets out from under his desk and tells us not to worry and that everything that can be done is being done?


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 11:07 a.m.

Ann Arbor had a serial rapist in 1995 when there were lots of cops. How do you folks explain that? We had more bodies in uniform and were just as victimized and unsafe as we find ourselves now. Something to think about here and not just react to eh?

Jenna Thom

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 10:59 a.m.

People need to stop blaming the cuts on police for the recent attacks. First of all it is so disrespectful to the victims. Second of all, there are attacks in all communities over time where there are overstaffed police forces and understaffed police forces. We have had attacks here before in Ann Arbor and we will probably have attacks again, of course I hope we don't. They are random and can't be completely prevented all the time. Even if you had thousands of police roaming the streets, it will make little difference in preventing this sort of thing. Crime happens everywhere. Under the attack articles over the past few days there have been many who have been blaming the police and the city in the comments and who think that that their blame is appropriate, but it is not. It is actually creating the idea that Ann Arbor is not safe because we have inadequate police. There is nothing further from the truth. You, the commentors/bloggers are harming the city by creating an illusion of something that is not true......and you are creating it for your own enjoyment. This is something that is not in the best interest of the community and is just plain wrong. I find it disgusting that the same political bloggers and commentors want to use this story to further their political causes. But with that said, I will change my behavior for awhile until this guy is caught (yes, I think it is one guy) and will not walk alone past dark. And I am sure that our great police here in Ann Arbor WILL catch the guy. I have faith that everyone is doing what they can to solve the situation.

Monica R-W

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

&quot; I find it disgusting that the same political bloggers and commentors want to use this story to further their political causes.&quot; We have a blog and have reported on numerous stories impacting our state, as a whole. In the same aspect, we have not reported on this story, at all. My personal comment on this story yesterday was due to this resource reporting the number of cuts to law enforcement and firefighters staffing levels in Ann Arbor. This was public information after reported. So you are trying to tell (in general) bloggers that they cannot comment on public information? Touching the free speech line here. I thought Ann had a moderating system for their comment forum. Is that you? Next, I take offense that you singled out &quot;bloggers&quot; to forward &quot;their political causes&quot;. I am sure that you are well aware that blogging for the most part is about Op/Ed articles mixed with news resources and/or expert quotes. By that, the very nature of blogging is opinion. Heck, Ann allows its' journalist to dive into opinion type of articles, from time to time. So, I am confused on why you singled out &quot;bloggers&quot; here. Either way, it appears -according to this article- Mayor Hieftje's office, Chief of Ann Arbor Police,A2 Police Officers, along with various community organizations are going to pour as many resources required to catch this suspect. That is excellent. I'm sure that pressure applied by the citizens of Ann Arbor, by articles here on Ann and other blogging type of resources, helped creating a sense of urgency with the Mayor's Office, individual City Council members and the City Administrator to quickly resolve this situation. That should be the ultimate goal. Not criticizing bloggers.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

I'm so glad to see that everyone is showing such great concern for the victims and that this thread is nothing more than political a victim of rape, I always found reassurance by hearing a bunch of political the recent victims feel the same way....

Jenna Thom

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

my comment above was meant for silly sally

Jenna Thom

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:04 p.m.

Really, you think you know what is the correct course action to take in this situation? How do you know what the police are or are not doing? If it is that simple that any person can think up a solution don't you think the criminal will think it up too and work around it. Let the police do their jobs. It is disrespectful to the victims because some are trying to assign blame without proof or fact. They are trying to create an emotional response from the public and the victim in order to create support for a specific political point of view. In my eyes that demeans the severity of the situation and the crime. Have some empathy for the victims.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

Oh and as for working on the Lesko campaign. No, I did not. In fact, last election I wrote in my father because I could not, in good conscious, give my vote to either candidate.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

Jenna - I guess I should have been more specific, the fact that the mayor and police chief could not be reached for comment yesterday, is what I consider to be a slow response. I am not trying to blow the situation out of proportion, but this being a major issue (for our town), our top administrator and top police person should be addressing this in a public forum faster then they were. (there are numerous comments below that are addressing the same point) As for the rest of your comment &quot;Actually I thought I was defending the police and the city.&quot; Thats what it says in my post above your post. &quot;You really believe that the police and the city have been just sitting by and waiting for more attacks? That is what you are implying.&quot; No thats how you choose to read it, I wasn't implying anything, again I should have been more specific. I did not insult the police force either. &quot;There is no slow response but the police or Hieftje for that matter&quot; did you mean by? &quot;a few police cuts&quot; Half? You seem to have the attitude that you are right and everyone else is wrong. I find that to be naive and arrogant.

Silly Sally

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

&quot;People need to stop blaming the cuts on police for the recent attacks. First of all it is so disrespectful to the victims&quot; How are the two related? They are not. The police need to have undercover cop teams, with one playing a potiential victim and see if she is approached or bothered. It is true that the police are not to blame, but bicyvle cops in these areas would be a good start instead of mannnin speed traps on Sunday mornings on State Street.

Jenna Thom

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:41 p.m.

LOL....You are so naieve and arrogant. Those are real votes. Look pass your own biases and realize that most think the way that I do.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

47 votes seems a little high. Remember Jenna, one person, one vote.

Jenna Thom

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

Actually I thought I was defending the police and the city. It is your anti-Hieftje attitude that is blinding you to the truth. There is no slow response but the police or Hieftje for that matter. The story was in the news the day after each attack happened. You really believe that the police and the city have been just sitting by and waiting for more attacks? That is what you are implying. I think it is ridiculous that those who like to criticize a few police cuts are the ones actually insulting our police force. I am proud of the job our police do and have faith that they are doing everything they can do. I know it may be hard for you to understand that there are residents in the city who use logic and reason to form their opinions. Looking at your past comments, I would not be surprised if you worked on Lesko's campaign.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

Also, Jenna your constant defense of Hieftje is quite ridiculous, looking at your past comments I would not be surprised to learn you if you worked on his campaign


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.

Actually I bet &quot;thousands&quot; of police roaming downtown would make a large difference, but I dont think we need/could afford thousands of police. I think people may be annoyed by the slow response by the mayor and the police chief when it came to addressing this situation.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 10:37 a.m.

And the immediate take away for you ladies is Resist, fight where you stand, do not allow yourselves to be dragged away from public areass to more secluded locations. Better to take the chance and be injured where others might see you and assist than somewhere that the attacker can do it at his leisure. Yes stay aware,travel in groups, have pepper spray in yoir hands ready to use. Practice and plan now while you can. Be smart and safe out there...


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

And by no means am I saying that you are victim blaming but the wording that you inadvertently used may be understood by readers as that. I wanted to just point that out. I am just tired of hearing people say &quot;she could have done more to avoid rape&quot; or &quot;she could have been smarter about safety&quot;


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

I did not mean to upset you or discredit your advice. I think it is good to take precautions and we should do as much as we can to stay safe. So I thank you for your advice. And perhaps I misunderstood your safe-wish. But as a victim of sexual assault myself, the comment &quot;be smart&quot; sure stings.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:53 p.m.

No one is blaming the victim but you. Wishing someone luck except in politics is not conversely wishing other people ill. Same for wishing someone to be safe and to stay aware. You might as well not say anything and offer no advice by that logic. And how helpful is that for the rest of us would-be potential victims. Much as I wish it, not everyone knows the basics and it's my mission to inform and enable as much as possible.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

While you offer some good advice I hope you will reconsider your last line. Saying be smart implies that the victims were not doing so which I hope isn't what you believe. As for be safe, that can be a very frustrating thing for victims to hear because there are only so many precautions you ca take but you can never be in control of your safety or being attacked. Let's try and put an end to victim blaming.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.

Men should also take heed of this advice. Still the perpetrator is the only person responsible for his actions. Don't let up on being vigilant if this guy is caught.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

little codicil when running under the gun. Run DIAGONALLY away. Much more difficult to track and hit a target that way. Speaking from experience.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:58 p.m.

I would also add: resist, fight, and run even if the bad guy has a gun. First, if the guy has a gun and you comply, you're probably going to be killed anyway. And unlike in the movies, shooting a moving target is very difficult without any training, which most bad guys don't have.

Alan Goldsmith

Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 10:19 a.m.

You forgot to ask the Mayor if he's still 'comfortable' with the cuts to police and fire fighter staff.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

@ alan goldsmith: thank you. I asked yesterday and was deleted by stff. I am not comfortable with the cuts, but I can only assume that bc it took fully a week for the mayor to respond publicly - the dda made a stmt first &amp; we have yet to hear from the aapd -that our elected officials were content with being comfortable w their irresponsible cuts &amp; were hoping to not need to address the sexual assaults against women in aa. Btw- mr. Heiftje - these are violent crimes , the kind you say don't really happen in aa.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.

Over the years you continually critize the mayor with your comments on For you to do it regarding with these series of rapes not only shows you have an agenda, but it's disgusting.


Sat, Jul 23, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

I am not a fan of the Mayor. BUT your take on this is not only childish it is irresponsible!