By CBSBoston.com Staff

MERRIMAC (CBS) – Police are searching for a suspect who broke into a Merrimac woman’s home while she was sleeping and assaulted her at knifepoint. It happened Saturday night around 11 p.m. on Hillside Ave.

The woman was awakened by a man in her bedroom armed with a knife. The suspect threatened the woman and repeatedly assaulted her, police said.

READ MORE: Moderna And Pfizer To Expand COVID Vaccine Trials For Young Children

During the attack, the woman was able to escape and run to a nearby home to call police. She was taken to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment.

Police said the suspect is a white male likely in his 40s. He remains at large.

“This is an active investigation which means there are more questions than answers right now,” Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears said. “I can assure the community that we are working closely with our law enforcement partners to do everything we can to locate this suspect as quickly as possible.”

READ MORE: Air Quality Alert Extends Into Tuesday Due To Unhealthy Levels Of Haze, Smoke In Air

Neighbors told WBZ-TV the woman is in her 70s and she lives alone.

“That shouldn’t happen. She’s a very nice woman, doesn’t hurt anybody, she’s very pleasant, she’s always outside working on her yard,” a neighbor said. “I think they need to catch him quick. This type of person preys on the vulnerable. They’ll prey on a woman who lives by herself, who is up there in age, or somebody who can’t defend themselves.”

Residents are urged to remain vigilant and report anything unusual.

Officers patrolled the Merrimac neighborhood on Sunday.

MORE NEWS: Massachusetts Fire Departments Flooded With Calls About Haze From Western Wildfires

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (978) 346-8321.

CBSBoston.com Staff