HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) — Hollywood Police are searching for a man wanted for a home invasion and sexual assault and investigators say it may not be an isolated case.
Just after 1 a.m. on Thursday, police say, a man forced his way into the back door of an East Hollywood home along 19th Avenue between Mayo Street and Funston Street and confronted the woman who was inside.
Officers say the man demanded cash and then sexually assaulted her before getting away.
Investigators believe the man in this crime is linked to two previous break-in’s which happened in the same area within two months of each other.
In each of the burglaries, the method of getting into the residence was the same with the burglar breaking into the home within the early morning hours and also making threats of sexual assault.
“We’re asking that people be vigilant. Be aware of their surroundings. Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you see something suspicious. If you see someone that doesn’t belong in the area that fits this description, call 911. That’s what we’re there for,” said Officer Christian Lata.
Police say they are looking for a black man, between 5’8″ and 5’10”, average build and is believed to be in his 30s.
In two of the burglaries, the burglar was seen wearing a blue sweatshirt with the word “Run” written across the front and a black hooded sweatshirt that zips up in the front.
In the most recent case, he was seen wearing gray sweatpants, gloves and had his face covered with a piece of clothing.
The area of East Hollywood where police say the incidents have occurred is from Washington Street to the north to Pembroke Road to the south and between Dixie Highway and Federal Highway.
Some residents are taking steps to protect themselves and urging others to do the same.
“I would tell them to look out, to protect themselves and arm themselves up,” said Chico Martinez. “I know people don’t like guns, but now in this world, a gun is something you should have.”
Others wonder if anything can be done.
“You gotta be concerned, but what are you going to do? Lock yourself in your house?” said Robert Calneqru.
Several residents of the neighborhood said they hadn’t heard about Thursday’s crime or the other two.
“It should be something that’s put out among the people,” said a neighbor.
“I’m in shock. That poor woman. That could’ve been me,” said another neighbor.
Camilla Dechiara said she’s heard strange knocking on her door late at night. She’s worried and hopeful this attacker is caught.
“This neighborhood’s getting worse and worse. Something’s gotta be done. Something’s has to be done. This is wrong,” said Dechiara.
Anyone with information, please call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.