AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police say an attempted sexual assault in Northwest Austin Monday night, along with a robbery that happened over the weekend in the same area, appear to be connected to a string of sexual assaults that have been reported along the same corridor.
On Monday, police say a woman called 911 around 9:30 p.m. and said a man attacked and tried to sexually assault her in the 11300 block of Santa Cruz Drive. The victim was able to fight off the suspect, but he ran away from the scene. Police searched the area near Balcones Woods and Highway 183 for the suspect, but no arrests were made.
“It’s horrifying. This is a really safe neighborhood, we love it here,” Julie Symons told KXAN.
Symons lives just off Santa Cruz Drive, and said the peaceful neighborhood is rattled by the disturbing news.
“It’s very scary,” Symons said.
A few days prior, an aggravated robbery with a similar suspect was reported on Saturday, Feb. 6, around 3:30 p.m. in the 11600 block of Jollyville Road. While there was no indication the victim was sexually assaulted, authorities believe the incident is similar to the other cases.
“It’s kind of a shock to us and our team, and of course I’ve sent out an alert to all my employees to be on the lookout,” Stacy Tallent, Owner and CEO of Telco Data told KXAN.
His business is located on Jollyville Road, right in the reported area of the aggravated robbery. Tallent says APD came by to speak with him Monday, in the hopes a security camera on his building could provide additional leads.
Tallent says he’s in the process of reviewing footage from Saturday afternoon. Additionally, he’s ramping up security, replacing bulbs on exterior lights to brighten the parking lot at night, and walking employees to their cars.
As Tallent adds security to his employees’ daily routine, neighbors back on Santa Cruz Drive are changing their security.
As of Tuesday, when Symons takes her dogs out for a walk, she says, “I’ve decided now, I text my husband when we leave and say we’re going on our walk, and then we’ve agreed when we come home, I text him when we’re home.”
In past cases, the attacks happened in common areas: the parking lot, a walkway corridor and stairwell of their apartment complexes. Police say the incidents happened at Highway 290 near US 183, Duval Road near Floral Park and on Northgate Boulevard-the exact locations for the first four incidents have not been released.
In all the cases, the suspect attacked the women from behind, forced them to the ground and either attempted to or sexually assaulted the victims. The attacker is described by Austin police as a Hispanic male, around 5’7″ to 5’9″ and of average build. They say he is an English speaker. The suspect usually wears a hoodie, face mask or bandana to cover his face. Police say he may be armed with a knife.Date & Time of Incidents
- Dec. 27, 2015 approximately 6 p.m.
- Jan. 17, 2016 approximately 6:30 a.m.
- Jan. 18, 2016 approximately 9 p.m.
- Jan. 23, 2016 approximately 5:40 p.m.
- Feb. 6, 2015 approximately 3:30 p.m., 11600 blk of Jollyville Road
- Feb. 8, 2015 approximately 9:30 p.m., 11300 block of Santa Cruz Drive
Anyone with information on the incidents are asked to contact APD’s Sex Crime Unit tip line at 512-974-5230. Detectives say they do not have any additional information to provide, but want the public to be aware of their surroundings.