Crime

Combined reward reaches $10,000 in Fort Valley break-ins, rapes

The FBI has authorized a reward of up to $7,500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for a series of break-ins and rapes in Fort Valley and Peach County.

The commitment is in addition to a previously authorized reward of up to $2,500 being offered by Peach County and Fort Valley law enforcement agencies and Macon Regional Crimestoppers.

Combined, that raises the reward to $10,000.

“We’re just hoping that this new reward shakes up something new so we can get this predator off the street,” Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said.

Fort Valley Police Chief Lawrence Spurgeon expressed similar sentiments.

“We’re just hoping that the higher amount sparks something,” he said.

“Hopefully, $10,000 will get someone to come forward,” echoed J.T. Ricketson, special agent in charge of the GBI Perry office.

In early April, five homes were broken into, two women were raped and three struggled with a suspect before he took off. In late April, there was one attempted rape, one rape and five break-ins all within three days.

No arrests have been made in the cases, and investigators are trying to better determine whether one person committed all of the crimes. Deese thinks authorities are dealing with a serial rapist based on the same method of operation and same suspect description in the incidents.

Most of the victims wake up to find an armed, masked man, wearing all dark clothing, inside the residence in which nothing is stolen, Deese said. All the incidents have been within walking distance of Fort Valley State University. Also, university officials invited female students living off campus to move to housing on the campus free of charge until the end of the semester, which ended Monday.

The crimes are being investigated by Peach County Sexual Assault Task Force that’s made up of the Peach County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Valley police, Fort Valley State University campus police and the GBI. The early April incidents sparked the creation of the task force that has grown in number.

Anyone with information is asked to call Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 877-68-CRIME (877-682-7463). All calls received can remain anonymous. Tips also may be reported online at www.crimestop.us.

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