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Midwest Task Force to Hunt Man Who Faked Delivery, Attacked Young Girls

The FBI and police departments in Ohio and Pennsylvania have formed a task force to try to capture a man who they say targets young girls and sexually assaults them in their homes in the late afternoon.

Scott Wilson, special agent in Painesville's FBI office, said nine girls have been assaulted in the last two years in Geauga, Lake, Mahoning, Medina and Summit counties and most recently in western Pennsylvania.

Wilson said many of the assaults have similarities. He said the young victims' descriptions of their attacker's size varied.

The victims' descriptions of their attackers' height and weight varied, but all agreed he was in his 20s or 30s with light brown or blond hair. In several of the attacks he was wearing sunglasses.

In most cases, a young male carrying either a clipboard or a package knocks on the door and asks if any adults are home. He gets inside by asking for directions or inquiring about neighbors. The man then attempts to, and in several cases actually did, sexually assault the girls, who are between the ages of 11 and 17, Wilson said.

In several cases, the attacker followed the girls home from a school bus drop-off, Wilson said.

"We want to get parents talking to their children about the dangers of letting any stranger in the house," Wilson said. "Don't take chances. Tell your children to talk through the [locked] door and never disclose that their parents are not home."

Wilson said the attacker is believed to be driving a dark-colored, four-door van.

The first assault was on April 10, 2001, on Ridge Road in Perry Township. Other incidents occurred in May, August and September of 2002 in Bainbridge, Bath and Hinckley townships and in Boston Heights and Hudson. One occurred in November in Lake Milton in Mahoning County. The most recent ones occurred in March and May in Fairview and Springfield townships in western Pennsylvania, just across the state line.

Wilson said police and the FBI believe some residents may have seen a suspicious person or vehicle in these neighborhoods that may help solve the case.

Anyone with information or tips on the case can contact the FBI hot line at 1-800-894-3599 or write to the FBI at P.O. Box 767, Painesville, OH 44077.

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