MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Police need help catching the man who apparently worked with an accomplice when he broke into two homes Thursday morning and sexually assaulted the women inside.

The first attack happened around 6:40 a.m. on the 9600 block of Linden Lane in Brooklyn Park.

The second, about a half-hour later, happened five miles away on the 7200 block of Girard Avenue North in Brooklyn Center.

Brooklyn Park police say that in the first attack two men broke into a woman’s house and one of them sexually assaulted her.

In the second attack, Brooklyn Center police say a woman was also sexually assaulted and both departments quickly noticed similarities.

“The M-O is matching up similarly to both events. The geographic location, there is only about 4 to 5 miles between the two areas, and the time frame,” said inspector Todd Milburn of the Brooklyn Park Police Department.

In both cases, the women described their attacker as a medium to dark-skinned black male in his 30s. They say he is clean shaven, had crooked teeth and a wide nose, and a husky build. He was wearing a black sweatshirt and a hat, either a baseball cap or a knit cap.

But aside from releasing a description, police are staying tight-lipped about the investigation. They won’t say if the attacker had a weapon or if the women were robbed.

“This kind of assault is rare nationwide. It’s a disturbing incident and it’s a rare occurrence,” said Cmdr. Tony Gruenig of the Brooklyn Center Police Department.

It’s a kind of crime that’s left neighbors like Ann Helmke concerned for her family’s safety.

“I have two teenage daughters so we will be locking doors and checking windows, absolutely,” Helmke said.

Police say it’s unclear if there were two men at the second attack in Brooklyn Center. And they say it is still too early if the attacker is the same man in both cases.

Police do want people to be extra alert. They are asking anyone who may have information to call 911 immediately.

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