Columbia police searching for serial burglary suspect

Investigators: At least 9 burglaries, assaults linked to same suspect

POSTED: 04:12 PM CST Dec 24, 2013    UPDATED: 07:13 PM CST Nov 21, 2013 
East Campus burglary map
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Investigators continue to search for a man suspected in a string of burglaries and assaults in the East Campus area of Columbia.

Police say the same man may be responsible for at least nine separate incidents beginning in June.

In all of the cases, the suspect entered through an unlocked door in the middle of the night and would enter the room of a female resident.

The suspect is described as a white or possibly “Middle-Eastern”man in his 20’s. Police say he has a medium-to-thin build and is of medium height. Investigators say the suspect’s clothing description has varied throughout the reports, and in some cases, the suspect has been described as having a heavy accent.

Police are investigating these incidents:

In several of the incidents the suspect would remove his clothing and get into bed with the sleeping victim.

During one incident, the suspect threatened a victim with a sharp object and told her he would kill her before sexually assaulting her. However, in most cases, the victim would scream, causing the suspect to flee.

Columbia Police Assistant Chief Jill Schlude said she doesn't know what this man is capable of.

"It's very concerning that the frequency of these attacks seems to be picking up," Schlude said. 

Residents in East Campus said they now take extra safety precautions.

Shelby Jasper, a resident in the neighborhood, said she and her roommates always lock the door.

"We even lock them when we're home because it doesn't matter if you're home or not, he'll still break in, apparently," Jasper said.

Her roommate, Tracy Qin, got a dog to keep them safe.

"I'm definitely nervous because we're in such close proximity, but we've taken a lot of safeguards," Qin said.

Police increased patrols in the area to keep watch for the suspect.

"Just over the past couple of weeks since crime has risen, I see the police a couple of times during the day and at night," Qin said.

Police are urging all residents to lock doors and windows. Anyone with information is asked to call the Columbia Police Department or CrimeStoppers at 573-875-TIPS.