CLEVELAND-- A Cleveland neighborhood is on edge after two sexual assaults in less than two weeks. Police said a woman was raped inside her home, just days after a man broke in and tried to sexually assault a 7-year-old girl around the corner.
Cleveland police said they do not know whether the same man is responsible for both attacks. But in each case, the man was wearing similar clothing and gained entry to the homes the same way.
"Everybody's talking about it, just making sure everybody communicate, hey, lock your windows, shut your doors, make sure, check the yards at night, just things to keep everybody safe," said Henry Phillips, who lives next door to the most recent victim.
People who live on East 142nd Street are paying even closer attention to safety after a woman was raped inside her home about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Cleveland police said a man broke into the house through a back window on the first floor of the home and attacked her.
"I have three grandchildren. We stay right around the corner and they young teenagers like her, so I am concerned and they need to find out what happened and they need to catch this person," Patricia Phillips said.
Police said the suspect is an African-American man with a light complexion, shaggy beard, about 25 years old, 5 foot 5 and 150 to 160 pounds, short brown hair and hazel eyes. He was wearing a black ski mask, black shorts, black T-shirt and was barefoot.
The man's description sounds eerily similar to an attack on a child just around the corner. Cleveland police said around 2 a.m., Sept. 3, a man pushed the air conditioning unit from the first floor of a home on Caine Avenue. The man tried to sexually assault a young girl, according to her mother.
"He had a mustache. He had on all black. The hoodie felt like it was cotton. He had on a ski mask that he rolled up," said the mother of the 7-year-old who was attacked earlier this month.
"I heard my daughter scream. She said that somebody was in here, ripping her panties off. 'He's trying to rape me, somebody in here, he's ripping my panties off, he's trying to rape me.' And she screamed like 'Mom' real loud at the top of her lungs," the girl’s mother told FOX 8 at the time.
"It concerns me deeply cause I have a newborn child, which is a little girl and plus I got nieces that stays right around the corner. I got friends with kids that stay right down the street, so it is very concerning," Henry Phillips said.
Anyone with information regarding this matter is asked to contact investigators in the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit at 216-623-5630. Anonymous information can be given to Crime Stoppers by calling 216-252-7463 or via text message: text TIP657 plus your message to Crimes (274637).