Rockford PD releases sketch of serial rape suspect, stress self-defense

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Police have yet to find the suspect in the series of sexual assaults on the city’s northwest side, leaving the public on edge.

On Monday, police provided the public with new details regarding the search. The suspect is described as a black male in his late teens to early twenties. He is said to be approximately 5’4 and 145 pounds.

Detective Gabe Wassner with the Rockford Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit stressed the importance of self-defense.

“They’re looking for victims. These are the things they’re looking for: people that aren’t paying attention to their surroundings, people that are distracted,” Detective Wassner said.

The suspect in the recent attacks broke into homes and sexually assaulted the victims, so we asked for more specifics. The detective advised to immediately call 911 and escape the house if possible.

“If you can get out of the house that’s your first choice, but again if there’s something in your house that you can use as a weapon, use it,” Detective Wassner added. “Anything that’s going to somewhat take this individual off track of what his plan is, that’s the bottom line.”

The detective noted that when faced with an attacker, people respond with either flight, fight, or freeze. No matter how one initially responds, there will likely come an opportunity to throw the attacker off guard.

“You’re going to have to make a decision at some point during that crime that you’re going to fight back,” he said.

Detective Wassner advised that if the perpetrator makes contact with you, put up a fight and make as much noise as possible.

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