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4/20/09

Craigslist killer strikes again in R.I.


By Joe Dwinell | Friday, April 17, 2009 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Local Coverage
Photo
Photo by Boston Police

The Craigslist killer stalking Hub hookers for their cash appears to have struck again, but this time he attempted to rob a woman offering “lap dances” in a hotel in Rhode Island.

Warwick, R.I., police confirm that a man matching the description of Boston’s Caucasian killer held a 26-year-old woman at gunpoint Thursday night at a Holiday Inn Express and demanded all her money and laptop.

“She was offering private dances on Craigslist,” Warwick Lt. Joseph Coffey tells the Herald.

Boston police Saturday confirmed the attack has "strong connections" to the Copley Square killing and hooker robbery. Boston cops add more than 150 tips have poured in on the Craigslist killer.

The armed suspect, a white male with blond hair dressed in jeans and a dark jacket, tied up the Warwick woman with a plastic cord at 11:17 p.m. Thursday and attempted to rob her cash, Coffey said.

“The woman’s husband then came into the room and (the suspect) held him up too, but gave up and then fled,” the officer said. “The woman was not injured and nothing was taken.”

The husband chased the suspect for a short time, Coffey added, but broke it off and returned to his rattled wife.

Warwick Police Chief Steve McCartney told the Herald they are doubling back to the victim, pressing her and her husband for more information. McCartney said police want to know exactly what kind of weapon was used. The chief tells the Herald the gun was "black," and that’s all the rattled lap dancer could recall.

Warwick police are not releasing surveillance photos after conferring with Boston police, saying they contain too much helpful information for the investigation.

“We want to know more about what happened last night,” McCartney said.

The description of the Warwick attacker is a direct match to the cold-blooded crook who has been targeting hookers and a masseuse around Copley Square.

All three woman attacked, so far, advertised their erotic services on the Craigslist.org free-for-all site.

Boston Police announced Saturday, "Boston Police detectives do believe, based upon a number of similarities, that there is a strong connection between the Warwick incident, the homicide at the Copley Marriott and the armed robbery at the Westin Hotel. "

Coffey said Warwick police have surveillance footage of the suspect in Thursday night’s attack, which they may make public. He added the suspect was about six-feet tall and was “clean cut” – a dead-on match to Boston’s Copley killer.

Warwick police are warning all hotels in the region to be on the lookout for the Craigslist stalker.

The attack comes just two days after Julissa Brisman, a 26-year-old stunner from New York City offering her services on Craigslist as a masseuse, was shot to death in her hotel room at Marriott Copley Place.

A week ago a man matching the same description bound and robbed a 29-year-old hooker from Las Vegas in her room at the Westin Copley Place.

Boston police say “numerous” tips are now being investigated and a grand jury has been convened to interview witnesses.

Police are urging other women who may have been victims and who recognize the man to come forward.

Criminal profiler John Kelly of New Jersey’s STALK Inc. tells the Herald the .com killer is “desperate” and possibly hooked on heroin or cocaine.

“At first glance, he looks like a drug addict,” said Kelly. “He’s trying to make a buck but willing to act out violently.”

Kelly said heroin addicts would do anything they can to not get “dope sick,” which brings on flu-like symptoms. That could be compelling the killer to hit again to pocket quick cash, he said.

Kelly said the Craigslist killer, always caught on camera with his ubiquitous BlackBerry, is smart enough to prowl the Web for easy marks but desperate enough to ignore the fact he’s being followed on surveillance cameras.

“It’s about the money. It’s about the robbery for him,” said Kelly. “It’s all part of the drug culture.”

The Herald’s Jessica Van Sack and Laurel J. Sweet contributed to this story.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1166270

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