Search expands for rape suspect

Recent attacks on three Richmond County women have neighboring communities reviewing old sexual assault cases and checking records for the man's distinctive two-toned gray pickup.

Aiken and Columbia County officials said Wednesday nothing has turned up, but they continue to look through their sex offender registries for potential suspects and are following up leads.

"We're really concerned about this," Columbia County Staff Sgt. Mike Cullinan said. "Anything we can do to assist Richmond County, they know we will do it."

In increasingly violent attacks -- May 19, 21 and June 13 -- three women said they were walking late at night when a man in a truck stopped, offered them a ride, then attacked them physically and, twice, sexually. The first two attacks took place in the Harrisburg neighborhood. The June attack -- the most vicious -- left a woman sliced with a razor and bleeding in a parking lot off Mike Padgett Highway.

Richmond County sheriff's investigators said Wednesday they have received a handful of phone calls from residents who recognized trucks similar to the black-over-gray Chevrolet S-10 driven by the alleged attacker, Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Calvin Chew said.

Victims described the man as white, in his 20s, 5 feet 10 inches and 160-200 pounds, with light-brown or blond hair in a crew-cut style. He also had a small tattoo on his arm.

Reach Stephanie Toone and Valerie Rowell at (706) 724-0851.