Police are seeking more possible victims after a man was arrested in a series of sexual assaults in Los Angeles of women he met online.
Benjamin Parke Belser, 36, of South L.A., was arrested Feb. 4 on suspicion of rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation and sexual penetration with a foreign object in connection with at least five sexual assaults dating back to 2017, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Authorities believe Belser, who is originally from North Carolina, targeted women using social media and dating applications. He allegedly began contacting women online in 2017 and “used elaborate ruses to conceal his identity,” police said in a news release.
The sexual assaults continued until at least 2022, when police began investigating Belser. The attacks occurred in the West Los Angeles, Koreatown, and downtown L.A. areas.
Detectives searched Belser’s home and found “extensive evidence” supporting their investigation, and they are still searching for additional information they believe could connect the suspect to unreported crimes.
Belser is 6 feet 5 inches tall, weighs 170 pounds, has brown hair and hazel eyes. Police said he uses various aliases to avoid detection and witnesses described him as having a “distinctive body odor.”
“Cases like this are especially heartbreaking because people are often reluctant to report sex crimes because they’re embarrassed,” Detective Asia Hodge said in the news release. “But if these many survivors are already speaking out, we think there may be more people who are waiting to speak up. We need their help to hold him accountable.”