LA sex-prowler suspect was already in jail on separate charge

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A man who police say was breaking into apartments in Los Angeles and trying to sexually assault women was identified and discovered to be already in jail on a Pasadena charge, police said. (KABC)

For more than two weeks, authorities were searching for a man they say was breaking into apartment buildings and trying to sexually assault women across Los Angeles.

It turned out he was already in custody.

Officials said Russell M. Harris, 34, is the suspect in a spree of break-ins and attempted rapes at apartment complexes in Los Angeles that started around Aug. 1.

Investigators had circulated surveillance images of him breaking into several apartment buildings, while and city and county officials offered a $35,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

In at least two of the break-ins, police say he entered unlocked apartment units and tried to sexually assault women, but was scared off when the victims screamed.

Within a day of that reward being offered, a Palmdale woman who had met Harris provided investigators with his name, police said on Thursday.

A search of records discovered that he was already in county jail after being arrested Aug. 9 by Pasadena police for allegedly trying to enter a home. He had broken his leg when fleeing from police in that incident.

His photo was shown in an array to victims who positively identified Harris as the suspect in several Los Angeles incidents, police said.

Officials say Harris is a fugitive from New York and has a history of burglary, assault and narcotics in New Jersey and one offense in Georgia.

Harris is expected back in court Sept. 14.

Related Topics:
sexual assaultcaught on camerasurveillance videoLos AngelesPasadenaHollywoodSilver Lake
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