Police confirmed the 19th appearance of the so-called "Hilltop Creeper" on Friday.
A woman told police that she was sleeping on her couch in her living room when she heard someone knock out the box fan in her window. The attempted break-in was reported in the 1000 block of Scott Street around 6 a.m.
The "Hilltop Creeper" is known to break into Hilltop area homes, lurk over women's beds and touch them inappropriately.
All of the incidents occurred on the west side in the Hilltop or Franklinton neighborhoods between December and August.
Crystal Caldwell, who lives on North Wayne Avenue, said that someone broke into her house.
“I come home and somebody had busted my window in the basement and (came) through my house,” Caldwell said.
According to the police report in connection with the break-in, Caldwell found a rear window broken and a lawn chair pulled underneath it for someone to stand on.
“It’s kind of scary, you don’t know what it is, who it is,” Caldwell said. “You just feel violated.”
Read More: Hilltop Creeper Is An Opportunist, Targeting People When They're Alone
Lisa Boggs, a Hilltop resident, said that the incidents have made her more aware of her surroundings.
“I have been listening to the different sounds, the sound that I hear in my house,” Boggs said.
Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner said that each of the 19 incidents reported thus far have been overnight.
“Most of the times, when the victims become alert to the fact that someone’s been in their house, they’ve been sleeping, it’s dark, by the time they gather their senses, the guy’s running out the door,” Weiner said.
Weiner said that he did not want residents to feel as though they were trapped inside their home and said that police have stepped up patrol in the area.
“Every lead will be followed,” Weiner said.
Boggs said that residents need to look out for their neighbors.
“Some neighbors aren’t aware of what’s going on, so if you just help your neighbor, that would be great,” Boggs said.
Anyone with information should call the Sexual Assault Unit Tip Line at 614-645-2438.
Weiner said that police wanted to catch the person responsible for the incidents before someone is injured.
“We don’t want to wait until someone is hurt; we want to put a stop to it now,” Weiner said.
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