A Los Angeles serial sexual assault suspect with a “distinctive body odor” is accused of meeting victims online and using “elaborate ruses” to hide his identity, according to police.
The Los Angeles Police Department is looking for other potential victims to come forward after they arrested Benjamin Parke Belser, 36, earlier this month on suspicion of rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation and sexual penetration with a foreign object for at least five sexual assaults dating back to 2017.
“Cases like this are especially heartbreaking because people are often reluctant to report sex crimes because they’re embarrassed,” LAPD Detective Asia Hodge said in a Feb. 9 statement. “But if these many survivors are already speaking out, we think there may be more people who are waiting to speak up. We need their help to hold him accountable. We’re gratified that the District Attorney’s office filed charges, but the work has just begun.”
He added that LAPD believes “there are more people out there who need help and we’ll keep working until we find them.”
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Police believes Belser, a North Carolina native, began meeting women online in 2017 and used “elaborate ruses” to hide his real identity from them. He used “various aliases” to avoid detection, LAPD said in a press release.
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Victims said Belser, who stood 6 ft., 5 in. tall and weighed 170 lbs., had “a distinctive body odor.”
LAPD detectives served a search warrant at his home in LA’s Village Green community on Feb. 4 “and recovered extensive evidence supporting the investigation.”
Police are still looking for more witnesses and evidence in an effort to build their case against Belser.
Belser is facing 12 felony counts and is being held on $6.2 million bail.
Authorities are asking anyone with more information to contact LAPD at 213-473-0447 or 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247) during non-business hours.
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