HAMMOND — Police are urging people to be on high alert after they say a man robbed homeowners at gunpoint and sexually battered one of his victims in a series of armed home invasions Monday night.
Hammond Police Lt. Steven Kellogg said officers were called to a home about 8 p.m. in the 4300 block of Elm Avenue for a report of a home invasion.
A man and woman residing there stated that they heard a noise and found a man had entered the home, pointed a handgun and demanded money and jewelry. The suspect fled their home with the stolen items, Kellogg said.
Officers were investigating that crime when they received another call at about 8:40 p.m. in the 4900 block of Oak Avenue. There, a woman said she was exiting her apartment when she observed a man walking toward her door.
"She attempted to re-enter her apartment when the male forced his way in behind her. The suspect again had possession of a firearm and stole various items including money and credit cards from this location. The female was uninjured," Kellogg said.
About four hours later, officers were dispatched to a home in the 6600 block of California Avenue for another home invasion, Kellogg said.
A woman in the home said she was sleeping and woke to find a man in her home. He allegedly sexually battered her inside her bedroom before fleeing with money, Kellogg said.
Hammond police believe the suspect to be the same person in all three incidents.
The suspect was described as a black male in his 20s, about 5 feet, 10 inches tall, and very thin, between 130 to 140 pounds. He was described as wearing dark denim jeans, a dark or black jacket with a light (possibly gray) pullover hoodie underneath. The suspect was in possession of a handgun in all three cases, Kellogg said.
"If you see any suspicious activity in your neighborhood, or you believe to see someone matching this description, stay inside your home with the doors and windows locked and call 911 immediately," Kellogg said.
This suspect should be considered extremely dangerous, police said.
"Please be vigilant and keep your doors and windows locked, and be mindful of your surroundings, especially near your homes," Kellogg said.
Police ask anyone with information about these crimes to contact Hammond Police Detective Sgt. Anthony Pinarski at 219-852-2983 or Det. Sgt. Joe Munoz at 219-852-2995.