Costa Mesa sexual assault suspect at large


Costa Mesa police are looking into two separate cases - one on Sunday, Jan. 27 and another on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

In the first case, an unknown male entered an apartment on Mendoza Drive near Mission Drive through an unlocked glass door at around 1 a.m. and attempted to sexually assault a 32-year-old woman. The suspect was scared off and fled on foot.

In the second incident, an unknown male entered an apartment on Valencia Street near La Salle Avenue at about 9:30 p.m. Authorities say there were no signs of forced entry, and they believe he might have gotten in through an open window. The suspect confronted an 18-year-old female in the bathroom, threatened her with a small knife and ordered her to keep quiet. The suspect sexually assaulted the victim and left the home through a window.

In both cases, the suspect was described as a black male in his 20s with a thin build. In the first incident, the suspect was wearing black pants and no shirt. In the second incident, the suspect was described as wearing a bandana to cover his face partially, a hooded shirt and unknown colored pants.

Several hours after the second incident at about 2 a.m. on Feb. 14, a crime scene investigator working in the area spotted a man who fit the suspect's description in the area of Mission Drive and La Salle Avenue. Authorities described this man as having a thin build, between 5 feet 9 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt, baggy pants and sandals.

When the suspect realized he was spotted by authorities, he immediately ran from the area, possibly toward a flood control channel north of Mission Drive. Some residents tried to help police by chasing the suspect, but the man got away.

Costa Mesa police are warning residents to be aware of their surroundings and make sure their doors and windows are closed. If you see anything suspicious, you're urged to contact investigators at (714) 754-5252.

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