A woman was sexually assaulted Tuesday evening in an attack that has left Edmonton police unable to rule out the possibility it may be related to assaults in the Garneau and Aspen Gardens neighbourhoods last year.


Staff Sgt. Brian Readman of Edmonton police speaks to the media Wednesday about a sexual assault in Belgravia. ((CBC))

"There's enough differences in the entirety of the occurrence that we're not confident in this case that it is perpetrated by the same person from the occurrences in 2008," said Staff Sgt. Brian Readman, head of the Edmonton police sexual assault unit.

"But we're very open-minded to the fact that descriptions cannot always be 100 per cent accurate."

Around 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, a man forced his way into a house in the Belgravia neighbourhood after a woman answered a knock at her door. The woman, who was alone at the time, was restrained by the man, who then demanded money from her.

After she gave him cash, she was ordered to undress. The man sexually assaulted her and fled, police said. Police said they are not releasing the age of the victim to protect her privacy.

Police are looking for a man with dark skin, about six feet three inches tall and 230 pounds, and in his mid-20s to mid-30s. He wore a dark jacket over a grey hoodie with white or beige baggy pants. He covered the lower part of his face with a beige and brown bandana.

"We're hopeful that with the description that we were able to get this time that it's unique enough that people will be able to perhaps recognize that this guy was seen in the area before or maybe around a commercial premise in the area or somebody may just say, 'Hey, I know that guy,'" Readman said.

In August 2008, police linked the sexual assault of a woman in Aspen Gardens to three sex attacks in the Garneau neighbourhood earlier that year.

The attacks led to fears a serial rapist was at work and prompted strong criticism that Edmonton police were not doing enough to warn women.

While police haven't established Tuesday's sex assault is related to the Aspen Gardens and Garneau assaults, they said they haven't ruled out the possibility either because, as with the attacks in 2008, the latest victim was home by herself.

However, unlike the latest assailant, the man described in the 2008 attacks was about five feet nine inches tall, with a stocky or average build.