A series of “random, unprovoked” attacks has a Massachusetts town on edge.
Police say up to 11 people have been attacked since Nov. 10 in Waltham, a city of about 63,000 people roughly 12 miles northwest of Boston.
The latest incident unfolded near the downtown area just after 8 p.m. Friday and was reported via the police department’s anonymous tip line, according to WCVB.
Two days earlier, Emerson Aroche Paz suffered broken bones in his face and nose when he was attacked on his way home from work, WBZ reported.
“I feel a big hit with something in my left eye,” Paz said, according to the station. “When I start to go down, he hit me again in the back of my head.”
On Tuesday, Police Chief Keith MacPherson decried the string of “violent and cowardly acts” and announced a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, WCVB reported.
Melissa Gallant, who lives in the town, said she was “rattled” by the assaults, especially since she knows Paz, according to the station.
“I know he’s beat up bad, bad, bad and he’s such a nice guy,” Gallant said. “It’s heartbreaking. It’s not right. He helps everybody. He’s a very good man.”
Police said a U.S. Postal Service worker was also attacked on Nov. 20, prompting the USPS to change its delivery route to facilitate drop-offs during daylight hours, WHDH reported.
“We will continue to monitor this situation and take any further steps that may be necessary to protect our carriers,” the Postal Service said in a statement.
The initial assaults happened near a local apartment complex, but authorities said it appears the suspect has moved on to other areas of the city.
Most of the attacks occurred between 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., “with the assailant typically approaching the victim from behind,” police said Tuesday, WCVB reported.
The police department released surveillance footage Saturday of the alleged suspect. Local residents are urged to be aware of their surroundings, especially after dark.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Waltham Police Department at 781-314-3600 (option 4) or submit an anonymous tip at 781-314-3636.