Nassau police are investigating whether a man who they say tried to break into a Kings Point home early Wednesday is the intruder suspected in a rash of home invasions that have terrorized several women and girls.
"We can't be 100 percent certain it's the same individual, but it seems to fit the pattern," said Det. Lt. Kevin Smith, a police spokesman.
Smith said a 17-year-old resident of Gay Drive twice heard a noise outside while in her bedroom at about 1:15 a.m. Her family called police, who responded immediately and searched the area.
Police said the latest incident is the seventh time a man has used a similar method to enter or try to get into homes in Great Neck or Kings Point since Nov. 30. The suspect remains unidentified, police said, and is believed not to use a vehicle.
Police are trying to determine if the suspect is the same man who they say held a wet rag over a 15-year-old girl's mouth while she slept, who pressed a knife to 61-year-old woman's throat, or who pinched a 5-year-old girl's lips to silence her when she discovered him outside her bedroom.
Recently, DNA evidence recovered at the scene of one of the burglaries connected an intruder to a hammer attack on a woman in Hempstead last July and the 2009 kidnapping and rape of a 2-year-old girl in Texas.
In Wednesday's incident, Smith said, police canvassed the area, spotted the man's footprints in snow and followed them and his scent with the help of canine units.
In addition, detectives have begun studying a neighbor's surveillance video, which captured a man wearing black pants, a blue hooded sweatshirt and white shoes or sneakers. That video is being compared to footage provided by Home Depot of the man linked to the Hempstead attack.
Kings Point Police Commissioner John F. Miller said the alarm at the Gay Drive house was engaged but did not go off, adding that the man seems to have trudged through the snow and disappeared in the woods of Kings Point Park.
"I think we came pretty close to getting this guy last night," Smith said.
Smith said it appeared the intruder was using the park nearby to get to and leave the areas he's hitting.
Marsha Rotman, president of Kings Point Civic Association, said the community has been lucky that no one has been hurt, though the incidents have unnerved both villages.
"I think our luck is running out," Rotman said. "How many times can you be lucky? Eventually something's going to happen."