Mid-City: The Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations-West Bureau’s Special Assault Section (SAS) are seeking additional victims and witnesses in a series of sexual assaults in the West Los Angeles, Koreatown, and Downtown Los Angeles areas.
On February 4, 2023, SAS investigators arrested 36-year-old Benjamin Parke Belser, a resident of South Los Angeles, on suspicion of rape, forced sodomy, forced oral copulation and sexual penetration with a foreign object for a series of sexual assaults dating back to 2017. On February 7, 2023, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office filed 12 felony counts against Belser, who remains in custody with bail of $6.2 million.
Belser, a North Carolina native, appears to have targeted women using social media and dating applications. Beginning in at least 2017, he began contacting women online and used elaborate ruses to conceal his identity. The sexual assaults continued until at least 2022, when SAS began their investigation against Belser. On February 4, 2023, Detectives served a search warrant on his home in the Village Green community and recovered extensive evidence supporting the investigation and are still searching for additional information that could connect him to unreported crimes.
Belser used various aliases to avoid detection. He is a white male who stands 6-feet-5-inches tall, weighs 170 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. Witnesses described him as having a distinctive body odor.
Investigators identified five women whom Belser assaulted but believe there are others who have yet to come forward.
“Cases like this are especially heartbreaking because people are often reluctant to report sex crimes because they’re embarrassed,” said Detective Asia Hodge, SAS’s officer in charge. “But if these many survivors are already speaking out, we think there may be more people who are waiting to speak up. We need their help to hold him accountable. We’re gratified that the District Attorney’s office filed charges, but the work has just begun,” Hodge said. “We believe there are more people out there who need help and we’ll keep working until we find them.”
***Actual Suspect Benjamin Parke Belser ***
Detectives are requesting that anyone with information that could lead to the identification of additional victims or witnesses to contact LAPD’s Operations-West Bureau, Special Assault Section, at 213-473-0447. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the “Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.