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Reward up to $10K being offered in Fort Valley rape cases | News

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Reward up to $10K being offered in Fort Valley rape cases
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Toni Gibson manages a beauty store in downtown Fort Valley. She says after two strings of rapes and break-ins happened in the area, people are worried.

"Everybody knows everyone, and so, if something happens we can normally say 'Oh that person did it, or that person did it,' said Gibson, "But, in this situation, in this instance, we can't say that."

In hopes of catching the culprit, the FBI and the Peach County Sexual Assault Task Force says they're increasing the reward
up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.

Earlier this month, local authorities offered $2,500, but on Thursday, the FBI increased that by $7,500. Gibson likes the idea, but hopes the larger amount doesn't hinder the case instead of help solve it.

"While the $10,000 is good, I think it would turn into like a witch hunt," she said.

All three women who were raped were Fort Valley State students. Aziza Jabari is a college junior and works as a sales associate at Gibson's shop. She says now that school's out, she's even more concerned.

"We have just a few college students now," Jabari said. "So, it's a bigger target and it's more scary."

She says while the investigation continues, the community needs to stand together.

"Just make sure that you have someone at night, or make sure you have roommates there, or make sure you a defense mechanism," Jabari said. "We just have to make sure that we take care of each other."

Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said there have been no new cases reported and no new developments as of Thursday.

Anyone with information on the case can call Macon Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-877-68-CRIME.

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The FBI, the GBI and the Peach County Sexual Assault Task Force is now offering a reward of up to $7,500 for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible for multiple Fort Valley rapes and break-ins.

According to a press release from the FBI Atlanta office, this reward is in addition to the $2,500 reward being offered by Fort Valley and Peach County law enforcement.

In early April, five homes were broken into, two women were raped, and three struggled with the attacker before he took off. A few weeks ago, there was one attempted rape, one rape and five break-ins all within three days in Fort Valley.

Officers described the person as a black male, in his early to mid-20s, 5'6" or taller in height and wears all black clothing when attacking.

Officials said they're investigating some incidents that have taken place outside of Fort Valley, but are not sure if the crimes are related to the rape cases. Investigators are also trying to determine if only one person committed the crimes.

Anyone with information regarding the crime should contact Macon Regional Crimestoppers at 1-877-68-CRIME (682-7463). Calls can be reported as anonymous. Tips can also be reported online here.

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