Rape in Rodgers Forge: Suspects were observed Residents learn some precautions

June 04, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

About 200 people packed the Rodgers Forge United Methodist Church yesterday to learn more about four recent sexual assaults in their neighborhood -- and to find out what they can do to avoid becoming victims.

Police officers were reluctant to provide more information about the attacks at the meeting -- one of two scheduled yesterday -- or detail the efforts they're making to find the suspects.

However, Officer John S. Reginaldi, the crime prevention officer for the Towson precinct, departed from the script briefly to drive home a point.

He disclosed that there was a witness in the rape early Monday morning of a 17-year-old girl near Rodgers Forge Elementary School.

"One of these attacks was witnessed, but the lady did not call 911," said Officer Reginaldi. "She didn't actually witness the rape. But she saw the suspects standing over a car. She thought they were stealing tires." He said the woman didn't call the police because of fear.

"If you see suspicious activity, pick up the phone and dial 911," he said.

"That victim who was raped, if that witness had called to report suspicious activity, maybe that woman would not have been raped. Maybe. We don't know. Call 911."

Police say that three of the attacks may have been related. In two of those, on May 4 and May 23, women were attacked as they left their cars to go home. They were thrown to the ground and fondled.

On Sunday, a 30-year-old Rodgers Forge woman was attacked and raped about 3 a.m. as she got out of her car in the 100 block of Dumbarton Road. Her two assailants then forced her to ride with them to an automated teller machine to withdraw money for them.

In the Sunday attack and the May 23 attack, two men wearing masks and carrying a handgun were responsible. In the May 4th attack, only one man was seen, and he was not wearing a mask.

To guard against becoming a crime victim, people should be alert to their surroundings, avoid going jogging at night alone and avoid going through parks by themselves, said Officer Reginaldi.

If a woman thinks she is being followed, she should drive to the nearest police precinct. "If you don't know where the nearest police station is, go to the nearest 7-Eleven or Dunkin Donuts," he said, to laughter.

For home security, he suggested deadbolt locks and plenty of outside lighting. He said burning four 100 watt bulbs from dusk to dawn for 30 days costs the same as running an air conditioner for one hour. "Lighting is the best, and the cheapest psychological deterrent to crime that there is," the officer said.

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