POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 3:06pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 3:10pm
Detroit police say attacker appears to be targeting bus stops.
Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee says that his investigators are still intensely searching for a what he called the "monster" that has been attacking women on the city's northeast side.
"I think we all have the same goal in mind, and that's to bring this predator to justice," Godbee said. "We're not going to stop until we catch this individual."
He said there have been seven confirmed sexual assaults and one attempted assault since the first of the year.
Godbee said the victims have all been women between the ages of 17 and 33.
The attacks have been linked to a possible serial rapist because all of incidents have similar elements that suggest their attacker's modus operandi.
All of the attacks happened about five miles from downtown Detroit, and in most cases, the victims were waiting for a bus or walking to or from a bus stop.
Chief Godbee also said the rapist forces them at gunpoint to secluded locations where they are robbed and sexually assaulted.
Since the attacks began tips from the community have led to the arrests of nine men, who are between the ages of 20 and 38.
Godbee called the men persons of interests in the case but said they were all arrested on separate outstanding warrants and none of them have been charged in connection with the sexual attacks.
He said investigators were waiting of lab results to rule out, or confirm, any of the men's connections to the case.
"The science is going to be critical from this point forward," Godbee said.
Police on Monday released two new sketches of the suspect that incorporate facial details gleaned from interviews with his most recent victims.
"The apprehension of this suspect is a priority for us. It is a priority of this community," he said. "We are committed to getting this done."
Godbee urged the community to step up and be aware of any suspicious activity.
"We don't want people to be gripped by fear. But, we want them to be vigilant," he said.
He asked women to not travel alone and reminded the community that anyone who wanted to could wait for their buses inside nearby police stations.
Buses pick up passengers who are waiting inside.