Recent home invasions seem to target women

A rash of Baton Rouge home invasions since Sunday morning that resulted in the sexual battery of women has Baton Rouge police warning residents to lock their doors and be mindful of their neighbors, especially the elderly, because the attacker or attackers are still at large.

Since 2:30 a.m. Sunday, there have been three home invasions, two of which included forced entry into the homes and sexual battery of a woman inside the home, police said.

Police have not concluded the attacks are connected.

“It is uncertain at this time if these are related,” said Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., a police spokesman, outside police headquarters on Airline Highway. “We don’t have enough evidence to say for sure that these are related. The investigation is ongoing.”

The victim in each of the attacks was unable to give a detailed description of their attacker, but they all described him as a 6-foot tall man wearing dark clothing, gloves and something covering his face, Coppola said.

Police do not think there is anything connecting the victims to each other and nothing was taken from any of the homes.

Coppola would not say if investigators matched any unsolved home invasion or sexual battery cases to the most recent cases.

In these latest home invasions, all three victims were home alone.

“Fortunately these types of crimes are very uncommon, but unfortunately they are usually very brutal and very hard on the victims because obviously it is a violation of body and a violation of their home and the healing process can be very difficult,” said Rachael Hebert, executive director of the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response Center in Baton Rouge.

She said sexual crimes against the elderly also are uncommon.

While police refused to release the addresses where the attackers occurred, citing privacy concerns of the victims, Sgt. Mary Ann Godawa, a police spokeswoman, said police respect the public’s right to know and released information about the attacks and the neighborhoods where they happened for that reason.

The first incident occurred at 2:40 a.m. Sunday in the Tara/Goodwood area.

A 78-year-old woman told authorities she heard a noise in front of her home, noticed the drapes parted on a front window and went to investigate.

“The victim was then grabbed by an unknown male subject who forced her back to her bedroom where he assaulted her and then left the residence,” Godawa said in a news release. “The victim was otherwise unharmed.”

A similar incident occurred about 8:30 p.m. Sunday in the Glen Oaks neighborhood. A 34-year-old woman said she was awakened by her door being kicked in.

“He approached her in the bedroom where he grabbed her and attempted to assault her after covering her with a blanket,” Godawa said.

“The victim resisted the intruder and was punched on the face and upper body by the assailant before she was able to escape and run to a neighbor’s house, where she contacted the police.”

A third incident occurred at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Webb Park area, involving a 73-year-old woman. Police said a struggle ensued when the suspect assaulted the victim “at which time he struck her several times around the face and head area before leaving the residence.”

“As a precautionary measure, “Coppola said, “we would like to encourage the public to be diligent in locking your doors, being aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious or unsure activity to 911 or they can contact (225) 389-2000.”