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Police Are Hunting For One Of Australia's Worst Serial Rapists

What began as an investigation into five rapes has now expanded to 27.

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NSW Police have released images of a man they believe might be responsible for at least 27 rapes in Sydney's eastern suburbs over a period of 16 years, following a DNA breakthrough in several cold cases.

Police established Strike Force Doreen in 2005 to investigate five sexual assaults in the area, but referrals from the Cold Case Justice Review Project led to the investigation being expanded to include 27 assaults that occurred between 1985 and 2001.

NSW Police say a combination of the DNA evidence and the offender's methods when carrying out the attack led them to conclude that one man is responsible for all of the offences.

Investigators believe the man would now be aged between 45 and 64, and describe him as about 160-180cm tall - but more likely less than 170cm - with a dark complexion, dark, wavy hair, brown eyes, and a broad nose.

His physique has changed over time. In the 1980s he was described as having a thin build, in the early 1990s a medium build, and in the late 1990s an athletic or muscular build.

Police say the man was often armed with a knife when he carried out the attacks.

He kept his face covered during the attacks, often wore casual clothing, including tracksuits, hoodies, football shorts, or singlets, and spoke with an Australian accent.

Police would like to speak to anyone who lived in Sydney's eastern suburbs between 1984 and 2001 and who may have seen a man matching the description.

Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Mick Haddow, told reporters on Monday morning that the offender often carried out a "blitz style" attack, and had been known to break into victims' homes.

"The vast majority of these crimes were committed very, very quickly, with very little warning to the victim," he said. "[They] involved violence. There's certainly a knife involved in a number of cases, or the threat of a knife in others."

Haddow said there is no person of interest in the crimes, and it's not clear what happened to the offender after 2001.

"I want him to know that New South Wales Police are doing everything possible to bring him to justice," he said. "We won't be giving up on trying to find him."

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Rob Stott is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Rob Stott at rob.stott@buzzfeed.com.

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