Authorities are searching for a man believed to be responsible for a string of recent break-ins in Maywood, in which two women were sexually battered and a girl was attacked in her sleep.
The latest incident occurred about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday when the man entered through the window of a home in the 3600 block of 53rd Street, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department stated in a news release issued Friday.
The man found a 13-year-old girl who was sleeping her bed and then reached down and covered her mouth, the Sheriff’s Department stated.
"He put his hands on her mouth and told her to shut up and to not say anything," the victim's father, who did not want to be identified, told KTLA. "But thank God I always told my daughter you have to fight no matter what happens. Somehow she started kicking and that's when she had time to scream."
The girl's father heard her scream, ran into the room and punched the intruder, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
The intruder ran outside and got away after the father lost his balance and fell to the floor.
Investigators say the same man broke into two other homes the previous day.
At about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, the intruder broke into an apartment complex in the 4300 block of 53rd Street and started making his way through an apartment. Isidoro Garcia told KTLA he was asleep with his 4-year-old daughter when he heard commotion and found the intruder in the bedroom. Garcia said he grabbed his cell phone and used the light to shine it in the intruder's face.
The intruder was dressed in all black, according to Garcia, who started yelling at the man and asking him what was he looking for, and questioning what he wanted.
The intruder began to run out of the apartment, and tried to grab a big screen television on his way out. Garcia said he feared the intruder wanted his little girl.
About an hour and a half later also at a nearby residence in the 4300 block of 53rd Street, the intruder entered the bedroom of a woman who was "awakened by the sense of someone touching an intimate body part," the news release read.
The woman locked herself in a bedroom and called 911, but the intruder was gone before deputies arrived.
Almost two weeks earlier, on Oct. 5, another woman was sitting in her living room in the 6100 block of King Avenue when the man emerged from her bathroom hallway and grabbed her breasts, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
The victim fought off the attacker, who fled in an unknown direction.
"To find out this guy is not just breaking in to steal, but he's breaking in to like sexually molest people than that's a little scarier," resident Enrique Barrientos said. "That's pretty brazen."
Investigators believe the same man is responsible for all of the incidents and entered each of the homes through an open window.
The intruder was described as a Hispanic man in his 20s, between 5 feet 2 and 5 feet 5 inches tall, with a thin build, dark clothes and smelled of cigarettes.
Authorities do not believe he was armed at the time of the break-ins.
Anyone with information was asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 323-264-4151.
Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).