SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Signs posted in San Francisco’s Nob Hill and Russian Hill neighborhoods is warning women to be vigilant after several women were groped in the area.
In a press release, San Francisco Police Department spokesman Carlos Manfredi said all the victims have reported the crimes happened on the street late at night, between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
“The earliest report was filed in February of 2015, and several other incidents have been reported in the subsequent months,” Manfredi said.
A source close to the investigation tells KPIX5 that there have been at least 3, and possibly 4 recent attacks that appear connected. All the attacks were random, and in all of the recent cases, the suspect approached the victim from behind, the source said. The source said that the attacks happened very quickly with the attacker grabbing the women’s bodies on the outside of their clothing, then running away.
Victims have described the suspect as a man in his 20s to late 30s, between 5 feet 6 and 5 feet 10 tall.
One woman was attacked at her door as she was trying to enter the house, according to the source. Trained in martial arts, she fought the man off with her fists and feet and chased him away, the source said.
Neighbors have posted flyers on light poles and mailboxes around Russian Hill, warning of a “RAPIST” in all caps and admonishing people to be more careful as they interact with strangers.
The flyer goes on to read:
“Notice: there have recently been several attacks on females in this neighborhood. The assailant is still at large, and resident are urged to be vigilant at night.
Please make sure to report any unusual activity to the police, and take care to avoid dark places (one of the attacks was on the dark stairs on Filbert Street this past weekend).
Do NOT buzz anyone into your building without identifying them first. Your safety and the safety of your neighbors is at risk.”
A picture of the warning sign was posted to Facebook by the group North Beach News.
“It’s awful,” said North Beach resident Gary Dunn. “But, hopefully, if we get together as a community and make a difference, we’ll end this.”
Meanwhile, police say they are flooding the area with undercover officers hoping to catch the suspect if he strikes again.
“Officers from Central and Northern Police Stations as well as the Patrol Bureau Task Force have been working jointly to increase plain clothes patrols in an effort to apprehend the suspect(s),” spokesman Carlos Manfredi said in the press release.
Anyone with information is asked to call SFPD’s Special Victims Unit at 415-553-1361, the Antonymous Tiip Line at 415-575-4444 or Text A Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD.