Chicago police have issued a community alert for the Near Northwest Side Bucktown area, after a man armed with a knife sexually assaulted a woman early Wednesday as she left a CTA L station on her way home.

The offender in that assault matches the description of a man suspected in two previous sexual assaults in the neighborhood.

The woman was attacked by the man at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 2100 block of North Maplewood Avenue.  She was coming from the Blue Line station at  Western/Milwaukee/Armitage avenues and was walking home. 

Police suspect the same man may have also been involved in a sexual assault that occurred on the 2300 block of West Moffat on Feb. 5 and another rape that occurred on the 1700 block of North Marshfield on Sept. 26, 2008.

"I was pretty disappointed that the police weren't more forthcoming with information.  I think I heard that they waited three days after the first assualt," CTA passenger Michelle Olson said.

The offender in all three incidents is described as black, 20 to 30 years old, 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-8, 180 to 200 pounds, with black hair, brown eyes, a medium to dark complexion and a goatee.

The man was armed with a knife and in the most recent incident the offender was wearing an oversized dark jacket of an unknown color. 

Police are looking at numerous "persons of interest" in connection to the assaults, Chicago police Cmdr. Joseph Salemme said. 

DNA evidence was recovered from at least one of the previous assaults, police said, hoping it will help in their  search for the rapist.

Patrols have been stepped-up in the area and a community alert has been issued, police said.

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