Police investigators have released for the first time a composite sketch of a suspect sought in connection with recent so-called "Fondler" cases in the county.

In addition, Harford County Crime Solvers, a non-profit citizens' group, is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect, who, police said, breaks into houses and touches women as they sleep.

Dubbed "The Fondler," the suspect has broken into 16 houses in the Edgewood area since last spring, state police at the Benson barracks said.

The houses the suspect entered are in the Edgewood Meadows development off Edgewood Road, police said. The incidents occurred between 1 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on various days of the week.

"We're looking for leads," said state police Sgt. Lawrence C. Meusel.

"We're looking for help from the community."

Meusel said detectives have no reason to believe from their investigation that the suspect is the same person who followed a similar pattern of breaking into houses in Harford and touching sleeping women in 1986 and 1987.

The sketch state police released last week is based on a description from one witness, Meusel said.

The suspect is described as a white man about 6 feet tall, between the ages of 20 to 25. He has a lean build and wavy shoulder-length hair.

To provide information on the case, call the Crime Solvers' hot-line at 877-STOP. Crime Solvers offers rewards for tips that help solve area crimes.

People providing information on the case to the group do not have to give their names or appear in court.

The suspect enters homes through unlocked windows and sliding glass doors, police say. He approaches sleeping women and caresses them, but flees once they awaken.

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