Police: Serial attacker left halfway house, committed crime the same day

- D.C. police have announced the arrest of a man who they say is responsible for five attacks on women across the District. Police Chief Cathy Lanier says the incidents happened after the suspect walked out of a halfway house on Nov. 24.

Melvin Latney, 25, of Southeast D.C., has been charged with multiple crimes of sexual assault and robbery and is also being charged as an escapee.

On the same day he left the halfway house, police say he attempted a sexual assault and committed a robbery. In addition to the four other incidents, Lanier says he could have committed other crimes they do not know about yet.

Chief Lanier emphasized that the city's violent crime problem is partly from people who are given places in the community instead of going to jail.

"These alternatives to being incarcerated include group homes, halfway houses, community placement with GPS tracking devices, and it's those folks that we are seeing that are increasingly being involved in crime. And with this case, again, he walked away on the 24th and committed his first crime the same day,” Lanier said.

Chief Lanier says police intensified their search for the suspect as evidence showed that it was one man behind the attacks.

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