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Posted on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

Ann Arbor police believe 1 or 2 men are responsible for 6 recent attacks on women

By Lee Higgins


Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones, left, talks alongside John Broad, president of Crime Stoppers of Michigan, during a press conference at the Ann Arbor Justice Center Wednesday about a recent string of sexual assaults in the city.

Angela J. Cesere |

Saying we "have a predator or predators operating in our community," Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones urged women to use common sense when walking around the city as police continue to investigate six recent attacks, including two rapes.

Jones spoke this morning at a press conference at the justice center downtown, where Crime Stoppers of Michigan announced a $2,000 reward for information leading to an arrest by midnight today of a suspect in the case.

Thumbnail image for 072711-Sexual-Assaut-wanted-poster-01.JPG

A police wanted poster released today shows 2 possible suspects in recent sexual attacks on women in Ann Arbor.

One or two men are believed to be responsible for the attacks, Jones said, as police released a sketch today of a suspect in the second attack July 15.

In that case, a man grabbed a 19-year-old Ypsilanti woman in the 400 block of North Division Street about 11 p.m. while she was on her cell phone, police said. He attempted to drag her into a secluded area, but she got away. The attacker was described as 5 feet, 6 inches to 5 feet, 7 inches tall, 175 to 200 pounds, with short, straight black hair. He was clean shaven and had olive skin.

The most recent attack occurred Tuesday night in a parking lot in the 700 block of South State Street. A 21-year-old University of Michigan student retrieved something from her car about 11:30 p.m. and then was grabbed from behind and fondled by a man, before breaking free, police Lt. Mark St. Amour said.

Five of the attacks occurred in a little more than a 72-hour span from July 15 to July 18. Two women were raped July 18. One rape occurred in the same block as Tuesday night's attack. In that case, an 18-year-old Ann Arbor woman was pulled into an alley about 12:40 a.m. and sexually assaulted. She was taken to the University of Michigan Hospital, but St. Amour would not say today whether a rape kit was submitted to a state police lab for DNA analysis. Police released a sketch last week of that attacker, who 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.

In all cases, women walking alone were attacked late at night or early in the morning and apparently targeted at random. The victims were between the ages of 18 and 26. Their physical descriptions varied, including in hair color and size, police said.

Jones said 15 officers have been working on the case since the beginning, and multiple agencies are assisting. He declined to say whether the Michigan State Police or FBI were involved. FBI Special Agent Sandra Berchtold, a bureau spokeswoman in Detroit, could not immediately be reached for comment this afternoon. Michigan State Police officials also could not be reached for comment.

Jones said the attacker or attackers are taking advantage of the safe, open community in Ann Arbor, where people feel comfortable walking or jogging alone late at night.

"It is still a great town and it is very upsetting," he said.

But Jones assured people that police are going to bring the case to a conclusion.

University of Michigan police are assisting in the case and have stepped up patrols. University police Lt. Bob Neumann said the string of incidents also is being discussed at student orientations.

John Broad, president of Crime Stoppers of Michigan, said it's "tremendously important" for anyone with information to come forward. He distributed a poster that urged people to keep an eye out for anyone new in their neighborhood that may fit one of the descriptions. The poster also said the attacker or attackers may be window peeping, even though there have been no such reports.

Anyone with information can call the Ann Arbor Police Department's confidential tip line at (734) 794-6939 or Crime Stoppers 1 (800) SPEAK UP. The reward for Crime Stoppers is $2,000 only if the arrest is made by midnight today. Otherwise, it is $1,000.

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



Fri, Jul 29, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

The thing is, if rapists stopped raping, women wouldn't need to encourage young women to stay in after dark or carry a weapon, but be free to move about unmolested.

Mark D

Fri, Jul 29, 2011 : 12:04 p.m.

Three letters, ladies: CCW

Kai Petainen

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 5:36 a.m.

There are a lot of political comments within this on-going topic... and I don't want to get into that mess.... but... I would like to mention one 'positive' thing that has happened, that will hopefully help in cracking this case. From what I've read, the University of Michigan DPS and the Ann Arbor City Police are collaborating on solving the case. Our city has had events, whereby these departments have not collaborated and situations have not been solved or prosecuted, and have been forgotten. This situation, although bad, has the combined efforts of both departments and hopefully they will bring the person/people to justice.


Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 2:39 a.m.

Another hour and a half before midnight. Personally I think offering rewards suck! I would not accept a reward, (of money). It would just make my heart feel so good to have helped catching this coward/cowards.


Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 2:28 a.m.

15 officers working on it from the start according to the Chief? Some how I find that impossible and seriously he could prove that. Even with the staffing levels prior to the last cuts I don't think AAPD could muster that kind of manpower. Plays well for the media and scared public but officers I've talked with simply say not true. needs to make sure claims are true and this is being given the serious attention and not just bogus claims.


Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 12:30 a.m.

What we need here is something like Vic Mackey and his Strike Team, from "The Shield"... hmmmmm... only on TV, I guess. Oh well.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

After this person gets caught and gets a good plea bargain he will do at least 10 years in prison. After that he will be rehabilitated through great anger management and sex offender treatment classes where he will learn to respect woman and ask their permission before having sex with them. I think once this misunderstood person gets out of prison (if he's found guilty of course), we a progressive and enlightened community that are clearly more learned than most owe this person our help and taxes through the Michigan Prisoner ReEntry Program. I would be the first to have him even live with me if he wanted, my daughter would be a teenager by then but I know he would be rehabilitated so I would not worry.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

i hope they get this guy soon before he ends up killing someone. and the FBI and the state police better be helping out AAPD because they sure do need the help!

Monica R-W

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

Lee, thanks again for staying on top of this story. Glad to have the Police Chief FINALLY addressing the broadcast media. Let's hope the Ann Arbor Police Department catch these suspects before they seriously injure (don't get me wrong, rape is an injury in itself) a woman. This is bad but then, we will have a much worse problem on the city's hands! As for the City Administrator and City Council Members who voted for the police staffing, it is not a proven fact that if the cut police officers, were on duty, that could have prevented any of these six attacks. BUT, having it out in the media that your city was cutting law enforcement staff (along with fire department staff) was not helpful. Maybe cuts instead should have been taken 5 to 10% for EACH executive/administrative payroll position in A2 city government first....before laying off some of the city's police force.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

This is just sad. No one should be terrorized like this. Everyone should have the freedom to move freely around Ann Arbor. I hope who ever is responsible is caught soon.

lindsay erin

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 7:23 p.m.

I apologize if I missed this tidbit at some point in the series of articles on this topic, but has there been any report of whether or not the 'serial rapist' was carrying any sort of weapon?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 6:48 p.m.

Please make the picture a hot link to the real full size wanted poster.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

Kudos to John Hefije and a wise city council. Thanks for cutting the police staff and placing more money in parks and human services. This is what reactive policing is. They react they don't have the personnel to put out decoys or traps.

a2 Brute?

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 : 6:17 a.m.

How do you know there are no decoys or traps? I'm sure there are more than you realize.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.

Another poster mentioned using a decoy of some type. Wasn't this utilize to catch the groper on Packard Rd. a few months back, whereas, a female police officer was used as a decoy in the area where the groper was attacking women, and he was caught. I understand if police don't want to mention all of the techniques that they might be using to the general public, but, the Packard guy was caught within days. Where's the mayor's comments? Chief Jones says 15 officers are working the case? Where? In the Justice center? I've not seen too many officers on the streets since this began. Not even during the Art Fair, where one would expect to see more of a presence.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 5:31 p.m.

So can the campus and city pleae increase the visibility of police patrols around town? I rarely see a police car when I'm out and about.

Urban Sombrero

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

I see them all the time. But, they're not patrolling, they're attempting to catch speeders. Gotta bring in that revenue, eh?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

You can thank city counsel for thay


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

Maybe I watch too much TV, but it seems like the police could set up a trap for this guy. I imagine "more patrols" probably succeed in scaring him off if he sees a bunch of police cars driving around, which might be good but doesn't help to catch him. Could they hire a young girl to walk/run around late at night, with some undercover agents following close behind? It seems like these attacks are all happening around the same area.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

My post was meant to be sort of tongue-in-cheek, since 15 officers apparently aren't enough to catch the guy. Sorry if that wasn't conveyed. Maybe Batman would be a better idea.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

That idea is just plain out ridiculous on multiple levels. First, refer to the recent cuts to both police and fire. We have that nice new building downtown, though. "...hire a young girl to walk/run around late at night..." Seriously? LOL! Someone's been watching too much TV, but not paying much attention. That would be where a young female officer would be the bait on NCIS: Ann Arbor. Thanks for the comic relief, though.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

This is beyond appalling. All I can say is, when they do finally catch this disgusting monster, he should be locked up FOR LIFE. Sexual predators like him have an extremely high re-offending rate, and the brazenness of these attacks clearly demonstrate he has no respect for women. If he receives a light sentence, I can sadly almost guarantee that he will attack again. As a female myself, I implore all women to NEVER walk anywhere after dark by yourself.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

Looks like the same guy to me...or else they're brothers. I hope there's physical evidence! At this point I would consider then entire Ann Arbor area to be unsafe for women. Please. PLEASE! Everyone take care! Support law enforcement who have made this criminal a priority.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

"... the attacker or attackers are taking advantage of the safe, open community in Ann Arbor, where people feel comfortable jogging alone late at night." - Ann Arbor Police Chief Barnett Jones - How many of the 6 reported victims were "jogging" or as the Chief mentioned "jogging alone late at night"?


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

@amlive; I disagree, in fact I was going to write (before I saw your post), that those two guys look the same to me. Cover thier hair looks like pretty much the same guy to me. If you add to that the inexact science of creating this sketch and the fact that the victims are most likely in a horrible state of mind, well, to me I think it is the same guy. Obviously, reasonable people can differ with that opinion and it will come out in the wash with, as you say, samples etc.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

I agree they look similar. Quite often descriptions from different people do not always match.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

Do the police have any DNA evidence from the attacks - hair, semen, skin cells? The two sketches seem quite disparate (and perhaps they could indeed be two different people), but it seems like DNA testing has become efficient enough that they could easily identify attackers as the same or different pretty easily. Heck, it's even cheap to test for race - can our crime labs not do this to at least help a bit with the sketch? I know everyone's frustrated, and quite rightfully worried. I hope the city and university can put an end to this soon.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

If they do, that will likely not be made public. You are correct, if they have DNA, once the analysis is done the result will show if the samples from each victim are from the same offender.


Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 5:48 p.m.

DNA is only useful if there is a comparison in the data base. If not it sits in the system until a match is made