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News Nearby: Attack in Beaver County Raises Question of Connection to Ross Sex Assaults

Police in Hopewell Township are investigating a sexual attack that also took place Saturday morning that has some similarities to the attacks in Ross. Ross Township police said they cannot confirm that the attacks are related.

Hopewell Township police in Beaver County are investigating a sexual assault reported early morning Saturday, Jan. 7, that they say may be connected to two recent sexual attacks in Ross Township. 

Ross Township investigators were made aware of the incident over the weekend and are looking into the similarities, spokesman Sgt. Benjamin Dripps said. 

But, "we can't confirm that they are related," he said. 

According to information released by Hopewell Township police, a woman on Westfield Drive reported that she was assualted by a man in her townhome shortly after 7:45 a.m. Saturday. 

She said she left the home and then returned, went upstairs, and heard a noise from the lower level. She said she went to a bannister overlooking steps in her home and saw a man pointing a handgun at her. She told police she was pushed into her bedroom and sexually assaulted. 

The man demanded money before the assault, she told police. 

She described the man as black, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, of husky build and said he was wearing a blue jacket, black pants and a dark ski mask and gloves.

The age of the woman is not being released, nor is information about what the woman was doing before she returned to her house.

The two Ross Township women who were sexually assaulted, one Saturday morning and the other Monday morning, were both attacked after walking their dogs. Both women are in their mid-twenties and lived in apartment complexes, according to Ross Township police. 

The attack Saturday in Ross happened at about 9:30 a.m. in the Woodhawk Club Apartments complex on Johanna Drive, off of McKnight Road — about a 40-minute drive from the incident reported to have occurred after 7:45 a.m. in Hopewell Township that same morning. 

The attack Monday in Ross happened at about 6 a.m. in the secluded Cascades Apartment complex, which is on East West Drive, tucked off Cemetery Lane within a 100-acre wooded setting. 

Ross Township Police have said the Ross Township victims do not have any apparent connection to their attacker, and that the attacks seem to be random. 

Ross Police are searching for a suspect described as a black man in his mid-40s. They said he was wearing dark jeans; a dark, Nike hooded and zippered sweatshirt with a red Michael Jordan logo; and a dark knit cap or mask rolled up on his head. 

Police are also searching for a dark blue Ford Expedition XLT that a witness saw leave the Woodhawk Club Apartment complex Saturday driven by a man matching the description of the suspect. Video cameras on McKnight Road  captured images of that vehicle minutes after the suspect was believed to have left the apartment complex, Dripps said. 

The Expedition is believed to be a newer model, possibly manufactured in 2009, and might have damage to the driver's side door. It is a regular-length SUV, Dripps said.

Police were continuing the investigation into the attacks Tuesday, Dripps said, and placing extra patrols in the areas of the township's 25 apartment complexes.

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