Sheriff warns of 'serial rapist' in Upstate - FOX Carolina 21

Sheriff warns of 'serial rapist' in Upstate

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Spartanburg County deputies released this sketch of a man believed to be responsible for a rape on Aug. 17. (Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office) Spartanburg County deputies released this sketch of a man believed to be responsible for a rape on Aug. 17. (Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office)

A recent series of rapes and attempted kidnappings are believed to be connected, said Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright on Friday.

The first of the crimes was reported on Aug. 17 when a Spartanburg woman told deputies that she answered a knock at her door and a man forced his way into her home and sexually assaulted her.

About a week later, deputies released a sketch of the man who they believe is responsible for the crime. He was described as black, in his early 20s, about 5'8" tall and between 150 and 160 pounds. He had short hair with thin sideburns, chipped or gapped front teeth and facial hair on his chin. He was last seen wearing an orange shirt, light-colored shorts and flip flops.

On Sept. 3, a woman in Boiling Springs said she was approached by a man at a laundromat who asked if she was single. The woman said that when she declined the man's advances, he pointed a gun at her, threatened her life and then got into her car. She said that after a struggle with the man, he fled the scene.

On Monday, a woman in Cherokee County said a man who asked to use her phone forced his way into her Cowpens home and raped her.

Most recently, on Thursday, a woman said a man tried to kidnap her in the parking lot of a Spartanburg restaurant. According to an incident report, the man put his hand over the woman's mouth and told her to shut up. The woman was able to get away from the man and kicked him in the groin, according to the report.

During an interview on Friday about the most recent crime, Wright said investigators from both Spartanburg and Cherokee counties believe the same man may be responsible for all of the attacks.

"We are definitely looking at that," Wright said. "When you (have) the same description as the person who is doing that to several different women, that is a serial rapist."

Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller also told FOX Carolina that he believes the two-county crime spree is connected.

Wright said he is not trying to scare the public, but he is trying to make them aware that there is a problem and he does not want them to be victimized.

"Pay attention," Wright said. "Get your (concealed weapons permit). If you don't want a CWP, get some pepper spray (or) a Taser.

Wright said residents should lock their doors, check their cars before they get in and out and do not go anywhere where they are alone.

Anyone with information about any of the crimes was asked to call Crime Stoppers at 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372).

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