Local News

String of Sex Assaults, Robberies Were Committed by 2 Men: Police

Police believe that two different men are responsible for a series of rapes, robberies and sexual assaults at massage parlors across Southern California; they have arrested one suspect but are still looking for another man, authorities said Thursday.

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Security cameras captured this image one of the sexual assault suspects. (Credit: Riverside Police Department)

Maurice Jennings, a 34-year-old from Corona, was taken into custody by Riverside Police Department detectives on Sept. 27 in connection with the attacks.

Two days earlier, authorities had held a news conference in which they asked for the public’s help with an investigation into the long string of crimes, which occurred between 2003 and 2009 and involved up to 20 victims.

Compiled surveillance footage showed a suspect entering multiple massage parlors and day spas in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, where he would later rape or assault employees in back rooms, or demand money.

“He would then go into a room, sometimes even disrobe or receive a massage, before he would sexually assault any of the females that were there. Sometimes he would physically beat them; other times he would not,” said Riverside Police Department Detective Rita Cobb.

Detectives also said that the suspect would sometimes use weapons, threatening his victims with guns and knives.

In late September, police said they believed that all of the attacks had been committed by a single man.

Twelve of the crimes, including five rapes, had been tied to one man through DNA evidence, but other cases had not been connected by DNA, said Riverside Police Department Detective Aurelio Melendrez. Nonetheless, the cases all were investigated together because the crimes were similar in nature, authorities said.

Jennings was booked for two of the massage parlor attacks: a November 2008 sexual assault and robbery of three Riverside County women, and a January 2009 robbery of two Corona women, authorities said.

But Jennings’ DNA, when tested, did not match samples from the five reported rapes, according to a Riverside Police Department news release issued Thursday.

The DNA mismatch led investigators to believe that the rapes were committed by a second, still-unidentified man.

The hunt for this second attacker is in full force, as detectives say they believe he may have committed more attacks since 2009 that went unreported.

Authorities described the second suspect as about 6 feet tall and weighing 240 to 260 pounds.

Anyone with any further information was encouraged to contact Detective Melendrez at 951-353-7119 or Detective Cobb at 951-353-7120.

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