CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they're investigating recent cases of breaking and entering where the suspect sometimes committed sex crimes.
"We have about half dozen or incidents that involve a break-in or some sort of sexual assault or sexual assault attempt or peeping tom incident," Lt. Melanie Peacock said. "They're not all sexual assaults, but we're certainly treating them as if they can potentially be that."
Police say the cases happened in different sections of Charlotte.
"We cannot say these are all connected. Let me be very clear about that," Lt. Peacock said. "We're just exploring the possibilities because some of the suspects general description that we had is somewhat similar but then again we can't say that these are or are not related at this time we're certainly exploring all possibilities."
The suspect description in each case is similar. The suspect is described as a black male in his mid-20's with a thin build.
Investigators say two victims were sexually assaulted. Some of the victims are elderly.
"There have been some cases where something was taken. Other cases where there's not even a sexual assault. It was just a break in and we believe that was probably the motive," Lt Peacock said. "Some of these cases are peeping tom cases where a screen may have been removed and someone was seen outside but never actually makes entry. We're just trying to be as cautious as we can and get information out there."
Police say early Thursday morning a 63-year-old woman woke up to find a stranger in her apartment at the Tanglewood Apartments on Wynbrook Way. The woman told police it was the same man who broke into her apartment two weeks before and allegedly sexually her.
"In the first incident there was actually a little bit of an altercation and he ran out and the second incident there was no altercation really. She woke up. They had a verbal exchange and he left," Lt Peacock said.
Police say it appears the suspect entered the apartment through a window.
The victim's relatives told WBTV that the man tried to open all of the windows. They say he was eventually able to pry open one of them.
Police say it's extremely rare for a person to be victimized twice by the same suspect in an apparent random crime.
Investigators say they collected any evidence left at each scene but so far they have not been able to pinpoint a suspect.
"Anybody asleep in their own home in the middle of the night should have a feeling of safety but always be vigilant about locking doors, locking windows, leaving a light on," Lt Peacock said.
Police say some of the victims lived alone. They're asking people to look out for neighbors and check on family members who live alone.
Detectives are asking anyone with additional information concerning these cases to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.