Reported sexual assault latest in series of break-ins

Friday, May 9, 2014 | 7:23 p.m. CDT; updated 10:42 a.m. CDT, Saturday, May 10, 2014

COLUMBIA — A sexual assault reported Friday morning on East Stadium Boulevard is the latest in a series of increasingly violent break-ins police believe may be tied to the same suspect.

Police received a report that around 6:30 a.m. Friday a man armed with a knife entered a residence through an unlocked door. According to a release from the Columbia Police Department, he went into a bedroom, where he sexually assaulted a woman before fleeing. The address of the break-in matches that of The Domain apartment complex at Stadium Boulevard and U.S. 63.

The string of six similar reports began May 1. In almost every case, the suspect entered or attempted to enter the residence between 6 and 7:15 a.m., according to the release. In three of the cases, the door was unlocked.

Once inside, the suspect often made contact with a victim in her bedroom. His actions seem to have escalated with each subsequent reported break-in.

The suspect was described by the Columbia Police Department as a male in his 30s, between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches tall, with an athletic build. At times, he was seen wearing glasses.

The description also fits that of a suspect connected to a series of nine crimes last year in the East Campus-downtown area. Those crimes happened at or before 6 a.m., and in each case, the door was unlocked.

The recent incidents, including Friday's reported sexual assault, were reported as follows:

  • May 1, 6:15 a.m.: The victim was awake and in the kitchen of her residence on East Stadium Boulevard when she observed the front doorknob turning slowly. The door was locked and the suspect did not enter.
  • May 1, 6:15 a.m.: A suspect entered a residence at the same address through an unlocked front door. The victim awoke to find the suspect in her bedroom. Once seen, he calmly left the apartment.
  • May 1, 7 a.m.: A suspect entered a residence at the same address through an unlocked front door. The victim woke up and saw the suspect in her room, armed with a knife. She was told to remove her clothing, and the suspect masturbated. The suspect stayed in the residence for a total of five minutes.
  • May 4, 7:12 a.m.: A suspect approached a woman walking along the 4100 block of Lenoir Street, held a knife to her throat and attempted to sexually assault her. The suspect fled on foot when the victim fought back.
  • May 8, between midnight and 3:30 a.m.: A suspect entered an apartment on Grindstone Parkway through a downstairs window. The victim was awoken when she heard someone trying to open her locked bedroom door. When the victim left her room, she found a downstairs window open but nothing missing.
  • May 9, 6:26 a.m.: A suspect entered a residence on East Stadium Boulevard through an unlocked door. The victim awoke to find the suspect, armed with a knife, in her bedroom. The suspect sexually assaulted the victim before fleeing.

The Columbia Police Department asked victims or witnesses of similar events or those who have any additional information to contact law enforcement at 442-6131 or Crime Stoppers at 875-8477 to remain anonymous.

Supervising editor is Allie Hinga.

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Tracy Greever-Rice May 10, 2014 | 10:02 a.m.

So much for 'luxury'.

Perhaps monolithic, mono-demographic real estate development is NOT the safest and most (private or public) cost-effective way to house late adolescents/young adults who are just learning to independently manage households and themselves??? Maybe, just maybe, organically-grown neighborhoods end up safe and stable because they're home to a jumble of household types of folks from across the lifespan???

While US housing generally remains shamefully segregated by socio-economic status and race/ethnicity, at least we've typically managed to create neighborhood communities where there's a range of ages and thus, social accountability to neighbors with different needs based on place in life span, ie., we know not to speed to avoid hitting kiddos, we don't party on our decks all night to avoid waking the newborn next door or the middle-aged neighbor recovering from chemo, we don't cavort drunkenly down the corridor knocking on every door because we don't want to scare grandma, and we don't leave our doors and windows standing wide open because we realize we're living on a public street for which we cannot control every visitor rather than high-end hotel living in a two-semester stay at Sandals in Cancun.

It's WHOLLY predictable - inevitable really - that this type of criminal activity is emerging in these 'luxury' student housing developments. We can expect a lot more of it - meaning our tax dollars will have to go to 'soft' infrastructure - public safety and law enforcement - rather than sewer, water, storm water, electricity, roads and bridges (investments that benefit us ALL) because a majority of our most recent and current crop of city policymakers have to date chosen to ignore a century plus's worth of residential development history to inform our planning decisions in regard to public safety.

Demonstrably, empirically, the safest residences - regardless of density - are those residences integrated into other types of human activity - commercial, retail, recreation, education, etc. - that occur in a respectful, compatible way 24/7.

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Tracy Greever-Rice May 10, 2014 | 10:03 a.m.


Won't it be lovely when we add even more of these mono-demographic, mono-use monoliths right smack dab in the middle of our downtown??? To answer my own rhetorical question: No, it will suck, because the temptation for property and violent crime is about the style and demographic of the housing, not the location in the community. Brookside is on the list of places hit with these types of crimes too. Buckle down folks, it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

Tell your council people LOUDLY that the social, public safety, and economic costs to the City of Columbia of ignoring good planning and development practices are simply TOO high. Remember, all Columbia council seats are at-large seats. Thus, all council members represent ALL of us. You can reach any and all council as follows: - Ward6@gocolumbiamo. com

Reach out! It's as simple as an email, snail mail, or 5-minute phone call! If all they ever hear is out-of-town developers and their local minions overestimating property tax assessment increases and threats of lawsuits, they have no counter-evidence to make good long range decisions. Let them know you EXPECT and have a right to a safe, stable community with public infrastructure investments that benefit ALL, not just provide short-term profit-taking to a handful of out-of-state and locals in the land development sector.

On a related note to the Missourian: How about an update on our little boat-shod, preppy shorts and haircut downtown vandal??? I'm excitedly awaiting his arrest including his local address. No doubt he will not be accommodated at the Boone County jail at the level of 'luxury' of which he has become accustom.  

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