UPDATED: One of two men suspected in a series of sexual assaults and robberies in Riverside and neighboring counties is behind bars facing multiple felony charges, police revealed today, but the whereabouts of the other man remain unknown.
Maurice Charles Jennings, 34, of Corona was arrested Sept. 27 in connection with five assaults at massage parlors in Jurupa Valley and Corona, during which women were robbed and sexually assaulted, according to Riverside police, who made the announcement during a news briefing at the department's Magnolia Station.
Jennings, who is being held in lieu of $10 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, was identified following a Sept. 25 news conference during which pictures of an assailant thought to be responsible for more than two-dozen sex-related offenses were distributed.
Jennings is charged with three counts of forced oral copulation and one count each of kidnapping and assault to commit rape, along with multiple sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. He faces life in prison if convicted.
During last month's briefing, investigators seemed certain the same man was responsible for sexual assaults and robberies at 11 massage parlors and spas in eight cities -- Chino Hills, Corona, Fontana, Gardena, Industry, Jurupa Valley, Montclair and Riverside -- between 2003 and 2009.
A DNA profile was developed based on evidence collected from five locations. But according to detectives, the forensic clues do not link Jennings to those crimes.
Riverside police Detective Aurelio Melendrez said the methods and tactics used in each case suggested one serial assailant at work. But investigators are now seeking the public's help in finding another man, whose size and appearance -- based on security video recordings at several businesses -- is similar to the 6-foot-1, 350-pound Jennings.
Both men are black, wear their hair short and have mustaches.
"We want to reach out to the public because there are cases that have yet to be solved," said Riverside police Chief Sergio Diaz.
He said that although the crimes occurred in different jurisdictions, Riverside police have taken the lead, and the Riverside County District Attorney's Office will handle any prosecutions.
Jennings is slated to appear for a felony settlement conference at the Riverside Hall of Justice on Nov. 1.
Neither Jennings or the other man are believed to be acquainted, but the two carried out crimes using similar methods to intimidate, threaten and ultimately assault the victims, investigators allege.
Melendrez said earlier the assailants behaved amicably to get inside a business, then looked around for a common area to corral employees, who were forced at gunpoint into the room. According to the detective, the women were disrobed, stripped of their personal belongings and typically sexually assaulted. At least one woman was severely beaten.
Anyone with information was urged to call Melendrez at (951) 353-7119, or Detective Rita Cobb at (951) 353-7120. --City News Service