Gary police investigate 2 sex assaults

March 9, 2009 3:22:17 PM PDT
Police in Gary, Ind., are investigating two sexual assaults, trying to determine whether they are connected.A 12-year-old girl was attacked Friday in the 1900-block of East 19th Avenue. Authorities say the crime was similar to an attack in the 1800-block of Mississippi Street a week earlier.

Residents of Gary's East Side neighborhood are on alert after the two children were attacked.

"As it is, I take my kids to and from school. I don't agree with people letting them, children under 14 walk by themselves. I drive them there and back," said Loretta Skinner, Gary resident.

Friday's victim was a 12-year-old girl who investigators say was sexually assaulted by a man who came from between two abandoned buildings, chased her down and then dragged her into a vacant house to attack her.

The attack comes a week and just blocks from another assault...where a 15 year old girl was targeted as she waited for the school bus. she tells detectives on February 26, a man dragged her into an abandon building and raped her.

Police say the same sexual predator may have committed both crimes.

"In both cases, the reports indicate that the attacker was armed with a knife," said Lt. Sam Roberts, Gary Police Department.

Although board up crews began securing the property where a tleast one of the attacks happened, some area residents remain angry saying the city isn't doing enough to keep vacant properties from becoming crime scenes.

"It's like talking to anybody else. They come when they want to," said Roger Page, neighborhood resident.

"Although it is our priority to make our citizens safe by boarding up when we get those calls from our citizens, there are often times that criminals or those who commit crime will find a way to do something," said LaLosa Burns, City of Gary.

City officials say these recent crimes make securing abandoned property even more important as Gary struggles to maintain public safety.