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Sun. May 26, 9p-3a, Spring/Studebaker, LBPD Conduct Eastside Rapist Search After Residents Report Suspicious Activity; Alert Public & Strong Police Response May Have Foiled Crime

Rapist still on the loose; remain watchful

(May 27, 2002) -- Alert ELB residents and a strong LBPD response may have foiled the eastside rapist or prevented another crime last night as police units converged in large numbers on the area of Spring St. near Studebaker Rd. after a report of someone trying to open a sliding glass door and a second report of a suspicious noise.

With the eastside rapist still on the loose, LBPD swiftly marshalled its resources and encircled the area between Spring St. and Willow St. just west of Studebaker Rd. starting at roughly 9:22 p.m.

Police operated fast and in force, stationing units at Petaluma, Ostrom and Nipomo Avenues among others. For over five and half hours, access to and from the neighborhood was securely controlled. Officers required ID from those wishing to enter and exit. Roving officers scoured the area. A canine officer was brought in. LBPD's helicopter used its high tech eye in the sky to assist ground officers. Adjacent El Dorado Park areas stretching to the flood control were also searched.

Police say a suspect was not apprehended last night, but no one was injured and there was no rape. Police stopped short of saying a crime was prevented but did say that it's possible.

"We don't know if it was the rapist or a conventional eastside burglary," said LBPD Public Information Officer, Sgt. Steve Filippini, "but if it was the rapist, residents may have foiled this crime."

Sgt. Filippini reminded the public to contact LBPD [dial 911] if they see suspicious activity and let the department decide "no matter how trivial it may seem."

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