Asian women targeted in 3 sexual assaults near UC Berkeley; police release video, ask public for help

Police are asking the community for help in the wake of three “similar” sexual assaults that have taken place in less than a week in the Southside neighborhood near the UC Berkeley campus.

In each of these cases, the suspect targeted college-age Asian women, police said in a statement released Thursday evening.

Berkeleyside reported Wednesday about two of those incidents. Police did not say at that time that a third incident had also taken place.

Thursday, police released video of a man identified as a “possible suspect in these cases.” They released two versions of the video: at regular speed (above) and slowed down (below).


The suspect was described as a black or East Indian man in his early 20s, 5 foot 9 inches to 6 feet tall, with dark curly hair or dreadlocks pulled back, wearing a dark-colored jacket and pants, and a hooded sweatshirt.

The first incident took place Thursday, Feb. 11, at 9:10 p.m. when a man sexually assaulted a woman in the 2500 block of Haste Street. The 21-year-old UC Berkeley student was walking when she was grabbed from behind and pushed to the ground, police said, before being sexually assaulted.

Tuesday night, at about 11 p.m., a second woman was assaulted near Durant Avenue and Ellsworth Street. (Police had not previously released any information about this incident, and included no further details.)

About 20 minutes later, a third woman was assaulted nearby, in the 2500 block of Benvenue Street. According to a statement released Thursday by UCPD, the man approached her from behind and “used a bear hug to restrain” her, “and then sexually assaulted her.” In that incident, the victim chased the suspect through UC Berkeley’s Unit 2 parking lot, and he was last seen running west on Haste.

“BPD is sharing this suspect description, and a video of a possible suspect, in an effort to identify the suspect and protect the community,” according to the statement. “In addition, BPD is sharing information with the University of California Police Department.”


Police ask anyone with information regarding these assaults to call the BPD Special Victims Unit at 510-981-5735. For crimes in progress, call 911. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can call Bay Area Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Police have also released the following safety tips:

  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings
  • Stay away from isolated areas
  • Travel on well-lit streets
  • Whenever possible, walk in groups
  • Do not become distracted on the phone or listening to music

Related:
2 sexual assaults near People’s Park in Berkeley in 6 days (02.17.16)

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