ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Five sexual assaults in Anchorage in the last five months may have been committed by the same man, police said Friday.
''We are not sure that it's one individual doing this, but there are a lot of similarities,'' said police detective Eric Hamre.
All of the women were Alaska Natives, Hamre said.
All five were walking within eight blocks of 13th Avenue and Gambell Street in the early morning, after the 2 a.m. bar closing. All of them had been drinking in bars in that area and were intoxicated, he said.
Police said the assailant offered three of the women rides and forced at least two into his vehicle. After the assaults, four were dropped off downtown.
The first case was Aug. 31. The most recent case, on Jan. 25, was the most brutal, Hamre said. The rapist repeatedly struck the woman's face, he said.
''He beat her pretty badly,'' Hamre said. ''She had to have a lot of stitches.''
Victims said the rapist is black, in his 30s, neatly dressed, well groomed, with short hair. Their estimates of his height range from 5 feet 9 to 6 feet tall.
Victims gave differing descriptions of the vehicles the rapist drove. If it's the same person, police said, he may be using different vehicles.
The rapes do not appear to be connected to the killings of six women, five of them Native, in 1999 and 2000, Hamre said.
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