Detective Inspector Karl Fletcher, from West Midlands Police Public Protection Unit, is warning residents in Selly Oak to be on their guard after a series of attacks on young women during the last week in the early hours of the morning.
Four incidents have been reported since last Sunday (20/11)) where lone young women have been approached by a man wearing a mask. On two occasions the women have been threatened with a knife. None of the woman have been physically hurt, but the incidents have left them extremely shaken.
The first two incidents happened in the early hours on Lottie Road where a man wearing a gorilla mask pushed a passer-by, while holding a knife and exposing himself. Sometime later a man beckoned to a resident on her doorstep, who immediately closed her door.
On Thursday (24/11), a young woman was grabbed and threatened with what was believed to be a fire lighter on Hubert Road by a man wearing a gorilla mask and exposing himself. She struggled with him and was able to get away.
The latest incident happened on Warwards Lane in the early hours of Saturday (26/11) where again a young woman was grabbed from behind and threatened with a knife by a man wearing what has been described as a ‘Yoda’ mask. The man exposed himself and made the victim perform a sexual act on him before making off.
Overnight the area has been flooded with plain clothes officers in an attempt to catch the offender, but efforts to trace him have been unsuccessful. Officers are now continuing to scour CCTV to see if he can be traced by the footage and have already liaised with the university to provide reassurance and crime prevention messages to students.
Detective Inspector Fletcher, said: “These are extremely serious attacks and we have placed a large number of resources into catching the offender.
“We are now appealing to the public for information to help us trace the man who is believed to be white and aged 40 to 50, around 5ft 6ins to 5ft 8ins tall and slim with short grey hair.
“We are also asking young women to be vigilante when returning home late at night. We ask that you walk home with friends or take a taxi for safety.”
Meanwhile extra patrols continue in the area and anyone who has information should call police immediately on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.