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Ann Arbor police turn up tips with artist sketch of sexual assault suspect

Ann Arbor Police Department

The investigation of two sexual assaults on the same day in Ann Arbor is heightening police concern. Detective Lt. Bonnie Theil with the Ann Arbor police force says the release of an artist sketch of the suspect on Monday has turned up some promising tips.

"There are some promising tips.  It is still very early on in our vetting of those. But we’re very optimistic about at least a couple of the tips we’ve received that are promising."

But they are still looking for public help on this case, given the nature of the crime. Theil points out that both assaults involved women in their 20’s walking on a public street in the middle of the afternoon when a man got out of his car and groped them. She says it has them looking for answers.

"Given the time of day it happened in broad daylight, the nature in which it occurred, has it happened elsewhere, is this person local, is this going to continue here in Ann Arbor, or perhaps even in another jurisdiction?”

Theil says they will be vetting tips over the next couple days. In the meantime, they’re still asking for public help. The have published the artists sketch. They are also providing this background information:

The assaults happened a week ago, on February 26. In one instance, a 22-year old woman was walking to the bus stop near Lake Lila Drive near Plymouth Road at 4:30 in the afternoon when someone in a white or silver 4-door sedan exited the car and tried to grab her. The victim says the man groped her and tried to pull her toward his vehicle. But she pushed him and broke free.

A second incident that afternoon a 25 year-old woman walking on Nielson Court toward Maiden Lane, a man got out of a four-door sedan and groped her and then exposed himself. The victim ran away.

Police believe the same suspect was involved in both cases.

He is described as a white male, approximately 20-30 years old, about 5-7 or 5-8 with brown curly hair and a full reddish-brown beard.

Ann Arbor police are asking anyone who was in the area of either incident, or who may know the man in the sketch to contact AAPD at 734.794.6920 or email Detective Quinn at jquinn@a2gov.org or Detective Marshall at gmarshall@a2gov.org.

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Cathy Shafran was WEMU's afternoon news anchor and local host during WEMU's broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered.
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