By Todd Quinones
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Police are investigating a string of sexual assaults on underage girls that all happen near Camden high school.
Police say there have been four rapes since December, with the most recent attacking occurring on Saturday.
Three of the victims are younger than 18.
The masked suspect, who is believed to be armed with a knife and or a gun, surprises the young women from behind. He grabs them off Baird Blvd. then drags them into Farnham park where rapes them.
“There is a common thread in the victimology. They’re minor females and it’s happening between 3:00 in the afternoon and 5:50 in the evening. They appear to be walking to or from school,” said Camden Police Chief Scott Thompson.
The attacks all occurred in a section of Baird Blvd., just off Route 30 that has become somewhat isolated and is closed off to vehicles.
“That stretch of the roadway off Baird Boulevard, the bridge has been shut down for repairs, so it would normally be a heavily travelled roadway but is barricaded off. So the reality of it is people are using that as a pedestrian walkway,” Chief Thompson said.
Eyewitness News caught up with 16-year-old Yasmin Torres, who was walking alone along the section of Baird Blvd where the four rapes took place.
“Everybody usually walks me around here, but if not my grandpa usually comes and gets me, but since mom is like ‘just hurry back before it gets too late,’” Torres said.
In each case, the suspect was seen with a weapon or threatened to use one.
The daylight attacks have prompted Camden police to establish a bigger presence in the area.
There was one rape in December, two in January, and the most recent attack on Saturday.
The suspect is being described as a black male between 5’7” and 5’11” tall. 20 to 30-years-old with a medium complexion. He was last seen wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt with a mask covering half his face.
Women in the area are urged not to walk alone.