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Albany Police Unite in Hunt For Rapist

After three reported assaults, fear of more attacks prompts agencies to form task force

Albany Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)

Several area police agencies have formed a task force to track a serial rapist they believe may be responsible for three separate attacks in which women were sexually assaulted in their residences.

The details of the attacks have been sketchy and police will not say if the alleged victims have been able to provide descriptions of the suspect. In the three incidents -- which took place in Niskayuna on Dec. 12, Rotterdam on March 3 and Guilderland on March 9 -- women were attacked at night after being confronted by an intruder who forced his way into their homes.

In Niskayuna, police said their incident involved an "attempted rape."

Police in Niskayuna refused to identify the area of town where the victim was attacked. They said the incident took place about 3:15 a.m. at the victim's apartment.

"At this point, we don't feel like (releasing) any further information would be appropriate or even beneficial," said Patrolman Dan McManus, a Niskayuna Police spokesman.

In Rotterdam, the victim was attacked after she confronted what police initially described as a "burglar." The incident occurred on Rensselaer Avenue in the Coldbrook section of town just before 1:30 a.m.

The woman told police she was awakened by a noise and attacked as she confronted the man, who had broken in through a door.

In the Guilderland case, a man forced his way into a woman's apartment in the Woodlake Apartment complex at Church and Schoolhouse roads about 7:30 p.m. March 19. The intruder knocked on the woman's door twice, and when he heard the noise of the lock being unlatched, he forced his way through the door, authorities said.

Guilderland Police Chief James R. Murley said authorities are now seeking the public's help as they compare notes and grow concerned another attack could be imminent. He also said the incidents have enough similarities that police are moderately confident they may be the work of a serial criminal.

"If you subscribe to the crime classification manual, it's three or more with a cooling off period in between," Murley said. "It's enough of an alarm for me that we just felt it was prudent ... that information gets out to the public."

Police issued bulletins on Wednesday advising residents to be careful about opening their doors to strangers and to call police if they notice anything suspicious.

State Police investigators from the Major Crimes Unit in Loudonville are assisting and the FBI may help develop a profile of the suspect, authorities said.

State Police Lt. Timothy Munro said agency investigators are helping the three departments run down leads and pinpoint patterns in the three incidents that might hold clues.

"We have some assets that we could lend toward this investigation that assist the other agencies, and that's basically what we're doing now," Munro said. "Some of that might simply be organizational techniques and things like that, as well as the experience we have in similar cases."

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