A 24-year-old woman ran for help after a man followed her into the restroom of an office building in Columbia's Oakland Mills village Friday. He fit the description of a man suspected of attacks on four Howard County women in the past two weeks, one of them a rape.
Howard County police said no one was injured in the 9 a.m. encounter in the 6300 block of Woodside Court, in the Hillcroft Executive Park just east of U.S. 29, but detectives are investigating to determine whether there is a link to the other cases.
According to police, the woman and several people saw the man in the elevator and the hallway of the office building Friday. When the woman went into the restroom and entered a stall, another person entered the adjacent stall.
Police said the woman recognized the pants and shoes of the man she had seen in the hall moments earlier. She fled toward her office, but the man came up behind her and began asking her a question. He fled as she ran inside, police said.
The man was described as a clean-shaven black male in his mid-20s to late 20s, 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, with crooked front teeth.
Police said that description is similar to that of a man wanted for the rape of a 21-year-old woman near Barrel House Road on April 5, the attack on a 25-year-old woman in Canterbury Riding on April 6, an attack on a 24-year-old woman on Barrel House Road on April 7, and the beating and attempted abduction of a 26-year-old woman in Columbia's Owen Brown village on April 11.
Anyone with information should call Howard County police at 313-3700 or the Metro Crime Stoppers Hotline at 276-8888.
* Long Reach: 5700 block of Sweetwind Place: A blue 1985 Toyota with Utah tags 922DRR was stolen Sunday or Monday, police said.
6000 block of Majors Lane: A resident came home Saturday morning and found that an intruder had slept in a bed overnight. Police said the resident's house keys had been stolen two weeks earlier.