Third rape reported in as many days


Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 at 11:29 p.m.

Area officers are investigating the third report of a rape involving a young woman in three days, even as police obtained an arrest warrant Tuesday for a suspect in one of the cases.

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Reginald Roy Phillips Jr.

A woman living at the Reserve at Kanapaha apartments off of Archer Road reported that a masked man, armed with a gun, attacked her as she was walking her dog early Tuesday, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office reported.

The case is similar to a home invasion robbery Sunday where a man wearing a ski mask broke into a woman's apartment in the student neighborhood north of the University of Florida campus and raped her at gunpoint.

But officers from the Sheriff's Office and the Gainesville Police Department stopped short of saying the two cases were linked or that a serial rapist was on the loose.

The descriptions of an armed suspect are similar, Sheriff's Office Capt. Jim Troiano said.

"But other than that we are not saying they're related at this time," he said.

Both cases were being investigated independently, police spokesman Sgt. Keith Kameg said.

Officers from the two agencies shared information about the cases Tuesday and were looking at other reports of sexual batteries in the area to see if there were any connections, Troiano said.

Meanwhile, Gainesville Police moved toward an arrest in their investigation of a rape case that also occurred Sunday. A woman, living in the same neighborhood as the first victim, said she awoke to being raped by a man who had been staying at the home.

Police issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for Reginald Roy Phillips Jr., 23, of Haines City, on one count of sexual battery, Kameg said.

Officers allege Phillips had been at a party and, afterward, stayed at the victim's home. But while the woman was sleeping, police said he entered her room and raped her. When she woke up she chased him away with a baseball bat.

Using the woman's description of the man and the vehicle he was seen getting into, police in Gainesville and Haines City were able to identify a suspect, Kameg said. Police believe Phillips left Gainesville and returned to Central Florida to escape from authorities.

Phillips is believed to be in the Haines City area and is not a suspect in the earlier attack in the neighborhood, which is known as College Park, Kameg said.

In that case, a 21-year-old UF student said she was attacked by a man between 4:15 a.m. and 5 a.m. The man tied up the victim and went through her belongings before raping her.

The man also removed green bed sheets from the woman's bed, which could have held forensic evidence, police said.

Officers provided no new information Tuesday in that investigation.

The most recent case, now under investigation by the Sheriff's Office, also occurred about 5 a.m. as a 21-year-old resident at the apartment complex at 4440 Archer Road was out with her dog, deputies reported. The woman told officers a man armed with a handgun came from behind her and then forced her into her apartment, where she was raped. The suspect was wearing dark clothing and a mask.

Deputies advised residents to immediately report any suspicious activity in the area. They said to contact authorities if they see someone acting suspiciously or loitering in the complex between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Troiano asked residents to call the Sheriff's Office at (352) 955-1818 or Crime Stoppers at 372-STOP with any information.

Lise Fisher can be reached at (352) 374-5092 or fisherl@gvillesun.com.

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