UPDATE at 4:20 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, 2016: Police have made an arrest. See the latest here.
The search operation for a suspect described by Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Tina Nieto as a “violent sexual predator” now includes the LAPD's elite Robbery-Homicide Division, as well as Santa Monica and Beverly Hills police, authorities tell L.A. Weekly.
A pair of sexual assaults in Santa Monica in February might be “connected” to a suspect wanted in at least one of two rapes in West Los Angeles over the Fourth of July weekend, according to Lt. Saul Rodriguez of the Santa Monica Police Department.
An announcement regarding the investigation was expected soon, Rodriguez says.
Another case of a nonsexual assault in Beverly Hills, the exact date of which was not available, might also be connected to the case, says Beverly Hills police Lt. Lincoln Hoshino: “They have similarities, and they're trying to link these things together.”
An LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division detective says that investigators now believe two West L.A. sexual attacks over the Fourth of July weekend are not connected to each other; however, one of those cases might be a part of the wider, multi-agency probe.
Rodriguez of the Santa Monica department confirmed that only one of those two attacks is being considered as possibly connected to the wider Westside crime spree under investigation.
A suspected prowler arrested over the weekend by Santa Monica cops is not a suspect in the case, he says.
The West L.A. attacks took place July 2 and 4 on the same street, Westgate Avenue, in the heart of a neighborhood known as Sawtelle. Another assault reported on July 9 in West L.A. is not connected to the wider investigation, according to police.
Anyone with information on the attacks is asked to call police at 213-473-0447.