Women Targeted in String of Similar Attacks

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A local woman said she had just left the Nickles Bakery Outlet on Snow Road in Brook Park Wednesday when she felt something from behind and turned around to come face to face with a man determined to get her purse.

"I thought he was hitting me with his fist but he was hitting me with a rock and he just kept hitting my head and I was yelling, 'help me help me,'" she told Fox 8 News.

Inside the store, Marilyn Devereaux was waiting on her last customers for the day when she heard the screams from outside and could not believe what she was witnessing.

"I looked out and she was screaming, she says, 'help, help, he's beating me, he's taking my car.'"

Even as she was screaming for help, the victim, whose identity Fox 8 News is protecting, said the stranger kept hitting her.

At one point she said she reached in her car to grab the keys and that is when her attacker jumped in the car and started to drive away.

"He backed out of the parking space. I fell and he backed out of the spot, put the car into forward, ran over my left leg and kept going. Both tires went over my leg," the victim said.

The woman was able to get up and make her way into the store where Devereaux had already called 911.

She was recovering at home with two black eyes but miraculously no broken bones in her leg.

"This was a very frightening thing," the victim added. "And this was five o'clock in the afternoon with people around, it was light outside and he just boldly did this."

Brook Park Police said within three hours of the first incident another woman became the victim of a similar attack in the parking lot of a grocery store in nearby Brooklyn.

"The description of the vehicle, a four-door silver car, was used in that and a similar suspect description, so we are assuming they could be tied together," said Brook Park Police Chief James Foster.

Investigators are also trying to determine if the same man is responsible for another attack outside a Brook Park grocery store in October.

"A 31-year-old female was walking out to her vehicle. She had two children with her and as she was addressing issues with the children, getting them in seat belts. Somebody came from behind, and in this case it was a stick, and hit her over the head and ended up stealing her purse," said Foster.

With the help of the victims, police are distributing a composite sketch of a suspect, who they say is between 35- and 45-years-old, medium height, medium build with hazel eyes and weighing approximately 175 to 200 pounds.

Investigators on Friday had recovered the car stolen from the attack outside of the Nickles Outlet Store and were hoping to get evidence from the car that will help identify a suspect.

"He's dangerous and he has no fear," said the victim from the Nickles attack. "I mean, he looked me in the face and was just just pelting at my face without any compassion or nothing, he just kept at it."

"He's on a rampage to take whatever he can take, seems to me from women or anybody that's by themselves or vulnerable," said Devereaux, who worries that someone will eventually get seriously hurt if the attacks continue.