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FIRST ON 3: WPD investigates a series of sex assaults in Downtown Wilmington


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington Police say three women were sexually assaulted over the past few weeks.

But, what they are mostly concerned about is the fact that none of the victims can remember the attacks.

Police say although the women could not remember the assaults, victims told police they felt as if they had been sexually violated.

“It's tough to see somebody in that position,” Wilmington Police Lieutenant George Perkins said. “And know that for a period of time they had no idea what was going on with their physical body.”

He says three women recently found themselves confused about what happened during a night out downtown.

“We had one who woke up on the Best Western in Market, knew she was downtown, but had lost a period of time,” Perkins said. “She knew she was drinking downtown, then lost memory of what happened over several, several hours. We had another female who was found by several police officers downtown, walking the street with nothing on from the waist down. She had obviously been in some type of struggle based on the way her shirt was and that kind of stuff. And then we had the one over this past weekend.”

Investigators say the victims were taken to the hospital, where they were treated and released.

Wilmington Police spokeswoman, Linda Rawley says all three women were intoxicated at the time, but there is no word yet if they were drugged.

Rawley says she is concerned about the string of assaults, and advises women to be more vigilant of themselves and their drinks.

She says their downtown unit is beefing up patrol in light of the recent events.

“They’re going to be looking out for women who are overly intoxicated; trying to monitor them to make sure they get to their car safely,” Rawley said, “But we’re just trying to look out for, in and around areas where bars are, where women are coming out that are heavily intoxicated. We’re just going to be paying a lot of attention to them.”

As police try to figure out if the cases are connected, some in Downtown Wilmington said they expect crimes like sexual assaults to happen there.

"Obviously, it's a shame but it doesn't surprise me," said Jonathan Olson, a bartender.

"No not at all. I was surprised it was so low of a number you were giving me," Brandon Warren, who frequents downtown bars.

No women we tried to talk to in Downtown Wilmington about the assaults wanted to go on camera.

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