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Police: West York woman raped by stranger who broke into her home

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
  • Victims of sexual assault in need of immediate assistance are urged to contact the PA Coalition Against Rape's toll-free hotline, 888-772-7227.
  • Anyone with information about the man's identity or whereabouts is asked to call West York Police right away at 717-854-1975.

A West York resident is recovering after a man broke into her home and raped her on Tuesday morning, according to the borough police chief, who is asking the public for help in identifying the rapist.

The man broke into a home along West York's northern border about 6 a.m. and raped and threatened the woman at knifepoint, Chief Matt Millsaps said.

The woman, who had been sleeping, didn't know her attacker, he said, and was treated at York Hospital.

"We have reason to believe ... at least one other residence was targeted as well," Millsaps said.

About 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, the man tried to break into a different West York home but was chased away by a resident inside, according to the chief.

No one in that home knew the man either, Millsaps said.

"We're comparing the M.O. (modus operandi) to an incident we know occurred in a neighboring jurisdiction," the chief said. The other incident also happened Tuesday morning.

West York Police are asking for the public's help in identifying this man, who is suspected of breaking into a woman's home and raping her about 6 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. Police said the woman didn't know her attacker.

What's the link? Investigators have reason to believe the man knew which homes he intended to break into, but they have so far been unable to find anything that links the homes or occupants, he said.

"We believe he targeted these residences," Millsaps said, but not that he knew anyone in either home. "I believe that he knew where he was going."

The chief is asking residents who recognize the man to let police know his identity or whereabouts right away.

"My primary concern is getting him off the street as quickly as possible," Millsaps said. "That's why we're asking for help."

The rapist is described as a thin Hispanic man — more specifically, a man of Mexican heritage — in his early 20s to mid 30s. He's between 5-feet-10 and 6 feet tall, possibly had facial hair stubble and was wearing a bright orange sweatshirt with at least two words across the front.

One of the words is "York," according to the chief.

Stay alert: Millsaps said he always reminds people to be aware of their surroundings, to keep their homes and vehicles locked and to be careful what they post on social media.

"Part of our job as a community is to look out for each other," he said. "I think there's always a benefit to safety in numbers, and we should avoid putting ourselves in positions where there could be an increased likelihood of victimization."

West York Police area asking people who live and work in the highlighted area to check their home and business security cameras, as well as dashboard cameras, for a man walking by himself on Sept. 8, 2020, between 5 a.m. and 5:45 a.m., and again between 6:15 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Millsaps urges anyone with information about the man's identity or whereabouts to call West York Police right away at 717-854-1975 or reach the department through its social-media platforms, including Facebook and Crimewatch.

People who see suspicious behavior should call 911 immediately, he said.

The chief urged people who have been raped to reach out for support.

Victims of sexual assault in need of immediate assistance are urged to contact the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape's toll-free hotline, 888-772-7227. For more information, visit pcar.org.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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