Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

In two Gaithersburg cases, women wake to strange men in their bedrooms

One victim was sexually assaulted in her bedroom

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This story was corrected on Aug. 22 from its print version.

Two Gaithersburg women fought off men who forced their way into their homes earlier this month, according to police who do not believe the cases are related.

Both women awoke to a strange man in their bedrooms; one was sexually assaulted.

In the most recent case, at about 1 a.m. on Aug. 11 a woman fought off a man who had forced the door open to her apartment in the 18200 block of Lost Knife Circle, county police said. He entered her bedroom where she was sleeping and made sexual demands of her, according to a county police statement.

After a brief struggle, the man fled the apartment, spokesman Officer Rodney Barnes said.

It doesn’t appear the victim knew her attacker, he said.

Police released a composite of that man on Friday. They first notified the public about the incident on Aug. 15, four days after the attack.

The public was not notified sooner because investigators requested the information not be released, citing the ongoing investigation, Barnes said.

The suspect is described as a black man, 18 to 21 years old, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, 160 pounds with a closely-shaved head, no facial hair, carrying a white T-shirt and wearing blue jeans.

In the earlier incident, at about 5 a.m. on Aug. 5 a woman was sleeping in her apartment in the 600 block of West Side Drive and woke to find a possibly drunk man laying on top of her and fondling her, according to a county police statement.

The suspect fled when the woman screamed and called for help, according to the statement. She had left her keys in the front door, according to the statement.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, 30 to 40 years old, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, 170 to 180 pounds with silver upper teeth and wearing denim shorts.

This incident was reported to the public by city police on Aug. 5, and appeared in a county police crime summary posted three days later on Aug. 8.

Gaithersburg police do not believe the cases are connected, based on suspect descriptions, department spokesman Sgt. Rudy Wagner said Tuesday.

No injuries were reported either case, which occurred less than a week apart and within three miles of each other.