Los Angeles (CNN) -- Police say he strikes in the early morning hours, often before the sun comes up, and his method is usually the same. While on foot, he approaches his female victims, many of them minors, as they walk alone to school or wait at a bus stop, and he strikes up a casual conversation with them.
Then he quickly brandishes a knife or gun and forces his victims to a secluded nearby area, where he sexually assaults them. And just like that he is gone. But he leaves behind his DNA and -- for his victims -- the memory of a teardrop tattoo on his face.
Dubbed the "teardrop rapist," the man is one of Los Angeles' most prolific criminals. Since 1996, police believe the same man assaulted girls and women 28 times throughout a broad swath of the city center. Then in 2005, he stopped.