Providence police urge Elmhurst residents to be on high alert after string of sexual assaults

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Providence police are urging residents living in the Elmhurst section of the city to be on high alert after a string of sexual assaults targeting female college students.

In press conference Thursday, Maj. David Lapatin said that a woman was sexually assaulted at her home on Pembroke Avenue earlier this week.

Lapatin said a man broke into the home and assaulted her while she was in her bed at about 1 a.m. Tuesday. The man then stole several items before leaving.

That woman, Lapatin said, took herself to Rhode Island Hospital and then called police while she was being evaluated.

Police said that a second victim was assaulted at about 4 a.m. Thursday at her home on Pinehurst Avenue.

Lapatin said a man reached his arm through her window and assaulted her. That man, however, wasn’t able to get into the home.

College students ABC 6 News spoke with Thursday in the area said while the news is terrifying, it did not come as a surprise — sharing an eerily similar incident.

“All of a sudden there was a man that entered through the window and we were all sleeping and we were just like really terrified,” said Brenna Kivel, a student at Johnson & Wales who said their home has been broken into multiple times.

On top of break-ins, the students have also experienced their home being hit with paintballs and cars being broken into.

While the group said they did file a police report after the break in, the suspect was never found.

“They took like our laptop keys, they walked into my roommates’ bedroom while she was asleep so that kinda scared her. It’s definitely really scary and makes us feel like we need to be watching out for each other,” said Macie Stella.

Beth Long, who also studies at Johnson & Wales, said she plans to move to the area soon and while she’d heard stories, is now becoming more concerned for her safety.

“I’m moving in next month and just to know that this is something I’m moving in to is just, like, terrifying,” she said.

Categories: News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island