Probe continues in home invasion cases

Police are still investigating a pair of home invasion robberies in Carmel Valley, the latest on March 4 in which a 33-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and robbed in her home.

A person of interest was arrested last week on an unrelated charge but was not linked to either crime, according to Monica Munoz, San Diego Police Department media spokesperson.

While both the March 4 and Feb. 10 incidents were similar, Munoz said that they have not yet been connected by solid evidence.

Northwestern Division Captain Kathy Healey said she understands that people are very frightened and upset about what happened but assured the public that the police are working hard to solve these crimes.

"We're actually appalled by this," said Boyd Long, assistant chief of the SDPD.

Long said residents could expect to see a significant increase in police presence in the community. The SDPD also plans to have undercover units patrol the area.

"We're not going to be able to solve this without your help," Long said, noting it's very important for people to call police whenever they see anything suspicious in their neighborhood.

Similar crimes

Before noon on March 4, a suspect slipped into a garage on Carmel View, after a female resident had entered. Armed with a knife, the man forced the woman inside her home, tied her hands and sexually battered her before stealing her purse and taking off.

The suspect was described as a white or Hispanic male, 30 to 40 years old, 5'7" to 5'8" with a medium build.

A Feb. 10 incident on Whispering Hills Lane on the other side of Highway 56 was similar. Before noon, a suspect entered through a garage and, with a knife, demanded the code to the home alarm system. The woman gave the wrong code, which set the alarm off and sent the man running.

The descriptions given in both cases vary. The suspect in the Feb. 10 incident was described as white, 28-30 years old and 5'5" to 5'6," but both women reported the suspect looked very clean c a ut, Captain Healey said.

Community concerned

The incidents have left neighborhoods rattled. A crime forum on Feb. 18 at Grace Point Church drew 200 people. The regularly scheduled Northwestern Division forum on March 5 quickly shifted focus to the recent crime and was attended by District 1 Councilwoman Sherri Lightner and numerous TV news crews.

Women were the most concerned, not only for their own safety but that of their children.

"I am very conscious of a more dangerous environment for my kids," said Janice Sands-Weinstein, a mother of four. "It's affecting how we live our daily lives."

SDPD released an official statement on Thursday. "Regarding the home invasion/sexual assault cases on Whispering Hills, Carmel View Rd and Regents Road –On a regular basis, our detectives work with detectives at other agencies to see if there are similarities in cases (robberies, burglaries, auto thefts, sexual assaults etc.) These cases are no exception. Our detectives have spoken with detectives at other agencies in our county in an effort to see if there are similar cases that exist in other jurisdictions."



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