Approaching women throughout the day, 27-year-old Alvaro Flores has been suspected of approaching women from behind, knocking them down and removing their underwear by force.
He has struck most recently at the Parkwood Apartment Complex in the University and Michelson area on March 25 at approximately 5:45 p.m. The assailant then fled the area on foot and has not yet been located. The victim was not injured in this case.
Parkwood Apartments manager Jennifer Heiger had no comment about what happened. As far as what steps the complex has taken for added security, Heiger only added that she believes that whatever information they release will be counterproductive to the current situation.
‘All the patrol officers that patrol that area are aware that the most recent incident occurred in that apartment complex,’ said Lieutenant Mike Hamel, part of the Criminal Investigation Division at the Irvine Police Station. ‘They are being diligent in ensuring Parkwood apartments are patrolled and they keep their eyes out for anybody suspicious.’
Between December 2000 and March 2004, there have been a total of 40 similar cases. Several cities in the Orange County area have identified these cases as similar reports of sexual assault after an analysis of the crime data. Irvine has experienced the highest number and the most recent of these cases.
‘The other cities where there have been similar crimes that meet the same [motive of operation] are Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana and one in Orange County Sheriff’s jurisdiction in Aliso Viejo,’ Hamel said.
With most of these crimes, the assailant approaches the female victim, who is usually leaving or entering an apartment complex parking area, from behind. Most of the time, these women were carrying something like laundry or groceries. The assailant then grabs the victim, lifts up or pulls down her clothing and tries to remove her underwear. In the most recent assault at Parkwood, the assailant was able to completely remove the victim’s underwear.
‘Most of the women are in their mid to late-20s and nearly all of them were wearing either a skirt or a dress or in some instances a pair of pants with an elastic waistband,’ Hamel said.
The assailant usually strikes during the week, particularly at the hours of 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. All of these assaults have occurred in large apartment complexes with carports and several footpaths. So far, no one has been injured.
‘It’s difficult to say what his motive is without being able to question him,’ Hamel said. ‘It does not appear that he is interested in raping the women because all these instances take literally only a few seconds. When the women struggle he runs away. He never makes any comments that he wants to rape them. He simply just tries to reach up their clothing and remove their underwear.’
Detective Ed Everett of the Costa Mesa Police Department describes the suspect as a male Hispanic, 27 years old, about 5-6 and weighing anywhere from 120 to 150 pounds with brown hair and eyes. Everett also says that there are active arrest warrants out for the suspect in other cities as well and they have already taken steps to locate him.
Several jurisdictions have issued warrants for Alvaro Flores, who has been identified as the possible assailant in these sexual assault cases. His whereabouts are currently unknown.
‘Mr. Flores has been identified by some agencies as the suspect in crimes that are similar in terms of how they occurred,’ Hamel said. ‘We have not identified Mr. Flores as the suspect in our crimes. We are interested in talking to him. However, Mr. Flores is not the main suspect in our cases and we are offering an assumption that it is possible that there are other suspects.’
Although Parkwood Apartments are close to campus, there have been no reports that the assailant would strike anywhere on campus, particularly the housing areas.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the Irvine Police.