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Women distracted on phones attacked at UCLA

April 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police need help tracking down a bold and brazen sexual predator that is on the prowl, attacking women near the UCLA campus.The attacks are happening on the south end of campus or in Westwood and during broad daylight in very public busy areas. Police add that all of the victims were distracted on their mobile phones.

"It makes me worried about walking around at night because I live off of campus, not in the apartments, so just walking to and from school sort of worries me," said student Amanda O' Toole.

UCLA police say the suspect has struck at least five times in the last month. Two attacks happened on Tuesday near the intersection of Westwood Boulevard and Le Conte Avenue. According to investigators, the suspect waits for women to walk by him and then grabs them in the crotch area before fleeing.

"It's kind of scary because everybody walks here, goes to lunch and I actually work close by so it's kind of scary to hear all those things that people are actually capable of doing," said Jean Garcia.

"At this corner people travel going back and forth up to the village and back to the campus. I'm surprised to hear that," said Karol Cera who works on campus.

The bold suspect is attacking women in broad daylight between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

"That's what's probably most shocking, when there's so many people around. I mean, there are always people around Westwood, it's too busy," said student Brandi Craig.

"I can't believe that somebody would be that brazen to do something like that in broad daylight. Well, I hope he gets caught," said Keith Agee, who works on campus.

Police say the suspect is targeting women who are distracted talking on their mobile phones. Campus authorities are warning students and staff to be on the lookout.

"They're just emphasizing to not walk alone, don't be unaware of your surroundings," said Ariel Quist, a student.

That is the best advice. If you have any information on the attacks, you're urged to call UCLA Police at (310) 825-1491. At this point, investigators only have a basic description of the suspect and are talking to victims to come up with a composite sketch.