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Police warn women to be on alert in Clayton Co. as serial rapist terrorizes community

A serial rapist has committed a string of sexual assaults this year, with cases connected to the suspect going back as far as 2015.

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Police in Clayton County advised women to "please be very aware of your surroundings" in a Wednesday press conference as a string of sexual assaults has rattled the community.

The latest update came after a woman was assaulted at the Park at Tara Lake Apartments complex on Monday morning.

Police announced there was a serial rapist targeting women in the area earlier this year, with cases going back as far as 2015, though they have not connected the most recent attack to earlier assaults. They did say Wednesday there were eight confirmed cases connected by DNA.

Credit: WXIA

Maj. Anthony Thurman of Clayton County Police said there had been "lulls" in between the attacks. 

"But none have been consistent, which is making it very challenging," he said.

Thurman said women should be on the alert.

"Try to stay in well-lit areas, keep your cell phone in your hand, keep your car keys in your hand," Maj. Anthony Thurman said. "If you can, please travel in pairs. If it is an issue when you pull up to your place of business, your residence, or something of that nature and you feel uncomfortable, please call 911."

"If you see something suspicious, report it," he added.

Thurman said all the known victims so far were African-American women between the ages of 19-39.

He added the department is "absolutely dedicated" to catching the rapist.

RELATED: 'She woke and found the suspect over her': Community on edge after latest sexual assault case

In the latest attack, police said the suspect broke into an apartment around 1:00 a.m. According to a police report, the victim said “she was asleep on the love seat when she woke and found the suspect over her with his hands over her mouth.”

The suspect then reportedly told her “not to make a sound and threatened to pistol whip her and kill everyone if she did” before sexually assaulting her.

In March, police said the suspected serial rapist has been linked to at least seven cases.

"We want this person off the street just as much as the public does," Maj. Craig Hammer of the Clayton County Police Department said then.

Residents said they’re on edge.

“I come home late at night,” said Virginia Bailey. “Being a single parent, it’s just scary.”

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