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Police Investigate Whether Attleboro, Newton Assaults Connected

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NEWTON (CBS) – Police in Attleboro and Newton are looking into whether a couple of incidents in their cities may be connected.

Tuesday afternoon, an 18-year-old woman reported being sexually assaulted by a man with a knife in an alley near a parking garage.

Thursday morning at around 12:30 a.m., a woman told police she had just stepped out of her car in the Crowne Plaza Hotel garage at Newton Corner when a man pulled a gun on her and tried to sexually assault her.

“He made a demand of her, sexual in nature. What she was able to do is she kept her head,” Newton Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker said. “She reached into her purse and he observed this and he started backing away. Maybe he thought she had a weapon.” The woman had already acted cautiously, parking in a spot near the elevator on the 2nd floor of the parking deck.

Lt. Apotheker says once the suspect back away, the victim was able to get back in her car unharmed, lock her doors and drive down one level closer to the lobby.

“When she last saw him, he was heading toward the stairwell. We had many officers canvas that entire area with negative results,” Apotheker said. “Somebody may have seen him. Somebody may have seen him flee and we’re just asking if you have any information to contact us.”

The suspect in both cases was described as being a white man in his early twenties, around 5’8″ tall and clean shaven. Attleboro police confirmed that the two departments are looking into whether there might be a connection.

In the meantime, the Newton hotel where the later assault occurred says it has warned guest and it is providing extra security to guests both inside and around the hotel.

Guests Linda and Jerry Golden say they’ll be more aware. Both are glad to see the hotel taking added precautions.

“They have guards now patrolling the parking garage and if we wanted someone to escort us back to the hotel from the parking lot we could call them and arrange that so we might do that,” Linda said. “I think tonight we’ll be a little more cautious.”

Police in Newton take pride in the city’s reputation and are eager to get the suspect off their streets.

“Newton is one of the safest cities in America. Many years in a row we’re either number one or we’re up in the top 10 nationally,” Apotheker said. “So this again emphasizes the point that people have to be aware of their surroundings. Be aware of everything that is going on about them because these things can and do happen even in the safest of cities.”

WBZ-TV’s Bobby Sisk contributed to this story.

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