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Columbia police search for suspect in 9 crimes

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Columbia police say one man might be responsible for up to nine crimes including one rape and other incidents where the man crawled into bed with women before being frightened away.

The suspect description, method and the times of the crimes lead police to believe they are related, Assistant Chief Jill Schlude said. The man’s main motivation seems to be sexually assaulting his victims — who have all been women between 18 and their early 20s — although he was scared off in some cases, she said.

In each incident, the suspect entered through an unlocked door. He is described as a man in his 20s with a thin to medium build and medium height. The crimes were reported between June 29 and Sunday, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported.

Police believe sexual assault prompts the crimes because nothing has been reported stolen, even valuables that were in plain sight.

The most brazen attack occurred early Oct. 26 at Brookside Downtown, when the suspect threatened to kill the victim and sexually assaulted her before leaving. The woman did not scream when he threatened her, Schlude said. In the other eight break-ins, the suspect fled after the victim yelled or screamed after being woken up.

“There’s some where she sees him and there isn’t any sexual contact before she screams and scares him away. I think in some of them he just got scared off too quickly and it’s to varying degrees,” she said.

In five cases, the man woke the victim either when he touched them or crawled into their beds. He removed some or all of his clothing in some of the break-ins.

Schlude said it’s likely there have been more break-ins that have not been reported.

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