Police: Same man may be involved in series of armed robberies, sex assaults

Man targeted victims from dating websites, other social networks, police say

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - There's a neighborhood crime alert on the Westside, where police said they are investigating a possible trend of armed robberies and sexual assaults in the area of South Lane and Manotak avenues.  

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it believes the same man may be involved in reports of four armed robberies, which began in March, and two sexual assaults that happened in May.

Police said they think the same man may be involved because of similar descriptions of a black male about 5 feet, 9 inches to 5 feet, 11 inches tall who weighs about 220 pounds, has low coarse hair and a medium complexion, and is armed with a handgun. 

The pattern involves an unknown person engaging victims through dating websites and other social networks, investigators said.

“I have a 14-year-old daughter and I’m very concerned about that. I always tell her to stay off social media, look around you and observe things going on," said Westside resident Angela Kelsey.

Women who frequent a shopping plaza at the corner of the Westside intersection told News4Jax that they have been on high alert since police issued the warning about the series of armed robberies and sexual assaults. 

“That’s very concerning because there are a lot of single mothers like myself that work at night and I have to get out the car at night," Westside resident Johnell Marshall said. "So that is very scary.”

Police caution anyone using social media to meet others to be cautious, to meet in a public place and to not go alone. 

According to the Sheriff's Office crime map, between March 1 and Friday, there were 20 burglaries, 29 assaults and five robberies, four of which were armed robberies, reported within a half-mile of Manotak Avenue. 

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward of up to $3,000 if a tip leads to an arrest, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS (8477).

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