SLO police investigate whether attacks on women are connected

San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly police are investigating whether two recent attempted sexual assaults are connected, San Luis Obispo police Capt. Chris Staley said.

Cal Poly University Police announced Tuesday that a woman was attacked  Jan. 7 while walking on Perimeter Road near the A1 parking lot at the front of campus.

An unidentified attacker put a pillowcase or bag over the woman’s head with the intent to sexually assault her, police said. The victim was able to escape and did not see the assailant, who fled in an unknown direction.

The Cal Poly safety alert came mere hours before a similar announcement from the San Luis Obispo Police Department that a 21-year-old woman was attacked downtown near the intersection of Palm and Chorro streets Tuesday night.

A male approached the woman from behind, pulled up the woman’s shirt and grabbed her breasts before pushing her to the ground, where he attempted to remove her pants, police said.

The woman screamed, and the man fled into the parking lot behind the Palm Theatre. A silver vehicle left the area at the same time, but police are unsure whether the man was in the vehicle, Staley said.

In both incidents, the women could not clearly see their attackers, though the woman downtown described the attacker as a male wearing a bulky sweatshirt.

“The way that both incidents occurred is very similar,” Staley said. “It’s definitely something that we are looking into. Especially with the (first incident) being so recent.”

Staley said that because neither victim could provide a clear description of the attacker, it will be difficult to determine whether the attempted assaults were done by the same individual.

“We don’t have a lot to work on at this point,” Staley said. “But we will continue to look into this.”

Those with information on either of these incidents are encouraged to call the San Luis Obispo (781-7317) or Cal Poly (756-2281) police departments.