LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Authorities sought additional information Thursday from witnesses and victims involved in a series of sexual assaults over the weekend in the West Los Angeles, Koreatown and downtown L.A. areas.
On Feb. 4, officers arrested 36-year-old Benjamin Parke Belser, a North Carolina resident, on suspicion of rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation and sexual penetration with a foreign object as part of a series of sexual assaults dating back to 2017, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office filed 12 felony counts against Belser. He is accused of luring women using social media platforms and dating applications.
Police said Belser contacted women online using elaborate ruses to conceal his identity and that the sexual assaults continued until as recently as last year, when an investigation was launched.
Detectives executed a search warrant on Feb. 4 at his home in the Village Green community and recovered extensive evidence supporting their investigation, police said. They were searching for additional information that could connect Belser to other unreported crimes. He allegedly used various aliases to avoid detection.
Belser was described as white, 6 feet, 5 inches and 170 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Witnesses said he had a distinctive body odor.
Investigators identified five women whom they believe Belser assaulted and think there are more victims who have yet to come forward.
"Cases like this are especially heartbreaking because people are often reluctant to report sex crimes because they're embarrassed," said Detective Asia Hodge. "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 believe there are more people out there who need help and we'll keep working until we find them."
Belser remains in custody on $6.2 million bail.
Detectives urged anyone with information to contact LAPD's Operations- West Bureau, Special Assault Section, at 213-473-0447. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222- 8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org.