Police Probe Similar Assaults and Home Invasions in Two Counties

NORTHUMBERLAND/COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) State police in Central Pennsylvania are looking for man responsible for home invasions and sexual assaults across two counties.
     Eyewitness News Reporter Joe Garrison has more on the manhunt and how the public can help.
State Police say a crime spree in Northumberland and Columbia counties is putting everyone at risk. 

They are looking for a white man in his thirties or forties with a medium build, responsible for break-ins, kidnapping, and the sexual assault of women.

 
"The victims were restrained during these assaults and in some cases the victims were transported from their residences and assaulted in a separate location.  The investigation suggests the offender may have observed his victims for a period of time prior to each of the attacks." noted Trooper Rick Blair of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Some women we spoke with told Eyewitness News they were shocked by the crime spree and are concerned more women will be attacked.
 
"I think everyone needs to be aware of their surroundings and take proper precautions to protect yourself." Added Christine Shaffer of Bloomsburg.

State police say that includes reporting any suspicious activity in the neighborhood, and locking doors and windows at night.

 
"My doors are pretty much always locked, but because of this time of year my windows are unlocked.  I have latches that I can put up so they can be put up part way without being able to get in so I will probably do that." said Laurie Morris of Sunbury.

While people are urged to take precautions, investigators want anyone with information about the attacks to call police.

Tony Matulewicz, Northumberland County District Attorney told Eyewitness News
"And that is what the police want, to let the public know that they are going to thoroughly investigate any news, any tip."

An organization called Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers is backing this call for public help with a cash reward.

 
"And if an anonymous tip comes in that leads to an arrest in this case we will pay the tipster ten thousand dollars." said Kira Lemmons, PA CrimeStoppers Coordinator.

Some say they hope the cash incentive helps police catch the criminal.

 
"Well that is exactly what it takes.  The citizens have to help out. " said Bob Reed of Williamsport.

 
"Hopefully the reward will have somebody talking." noted Christine Shaffer.

 PACrimestoppers 
 


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