East Walnut burglary might be connected to July incidents

Thursday, August 22, 2013 | 4:58 p.m. CDT; updated 12:06 a.m. CDT, Friday, August 23, 2013

COLUMBIA — Investigators think there could be a connection among three incidents involving a man who has entered residences and approached women who were in bed.

Officers responded to a burglary call at 3:11 a.m. Thursday and discovered a woman had been assaulted in her home on the 1200 block of East Walnut Street.

The Columbia Police Department investigation revealed a man had entered a woman's apartment through an unlocked door. The woman awoke when the suspect rolled onto her in her bed. The victim then saw the man leaving her apartment.

The burglar was described as a 5-foot-7 male with a light complexion, possibly of Middle Eastern descent with a very thick accent, according to a Police Department news release. The victim told police she did not know the man.

This burglar's description is similar to two previous July cases, including an incident July 26 on the same block of East Walnut Street. The news release also connected it to an incident July 21, but police were not able to provide further information.

Police Department Public Information Officer Latisha Stroer made the connection between the incident Thursday morning and the one July 26.

"In both cases, the suspect entered through an unlocked door, meaning he isn't breaking in," Stroer said. "And the actions have been similar. He either gets in the bed or stands next to the bed."

Although the man approaches and enters victims' beds, these actions have not been classified as sexual assault because "he didn't do anything sexual to her."

The investigation into Thursday morning's incident continues. Police advised residents to secure doors and windows and leave outdoor lights on.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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