Published Aug. 25, 2007|Updated Aug. 30, 2007

Four rapes in four years, committed near the University of South Florida, may have been carried out by the same man.

DNA evidence ties three of the sexual assaults together and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office thinks a fourth, which occurred just six days ago, was carried out by the same person.

It occurred in much the way the other three happened, said Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.

The man climbed into the woman's house through an open window in the predawn darkness and attacked the sleeping victim, she said.

He struck between 2:30 a.m. and 6 a.m., Carter said. All four women live in the nearly 3-square-mile area between Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and Nebraska, Fowler and Bearss avenues.

The first three rapes occurred in August 2003, July 2004 and June 2007, Carter said. Days after the fourth rape, on Sunday, a DNA analysis of samples from the first three attacks showed they had been committed by the same person. Investigators are still awaiting test results on a sample from the fourth attack.

Each victim described her attacker as a 5-foot-6 black male in his 20s. He wore dark clothing, his head was either shaved or covered, and he was barefooted in at least one attack, Carter said.

The women also said he had "a distinct foul odor emanating from his body" and a light-colored "birthmark, scar or some type of skin disorder" on his left forearm, Carter said.

Anyone with information about a suspect is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200 or Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-873-8477.