State College police are investigating four rape cases over seven years they say are connected by the same DNA profile.
The alleged rapes took place on August 24, 2010, January 28, 2011, April 3, 2011 and July 16, 2017.
In addition to the DNA, other similarities between the cases include that the victims were all female Penn State students younger than 21 who were all highly intoxicated and walking alone in or around neighborhoods adjacent to downtown in the early morning. All three women sustained facial injuries during the forcible rapes, police said.
The only description provided to police about the suspect was that he's possibly a white man. The Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab, however, reported that the DNA profile developed from the three cases determined that the suspect in each case was the same person.
Police received the report of the most recent incident at about 1:40 a.m. on July 16, 2017. The woman reported that she was approached by white man with an accent, who pushed her into some bushes near South Atherton Street and sexually assaulted her.
The DNA evidence in that case was also sent to the state crime lab, where it was confirmed this week to be consistent with the 2010 and 2011 rape investigations.
State College police urge all residents and students to remain vigilant when walking in or around downtown State College, especially in the early morning hours. It's safer to walk in groups or pairs along lighted sidewalks and roadways, police advise.
Anyone who observes suspicious activity is encouraged to call police immediately. Anyone with information regarding any of the cases is also encouraged to call police at 234-7150, email firstname.lastname@example.org or send an anonymous tip through the police website.