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      Gadsden Police handling increase in rape cases

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      Gadsden Police are trying to track down suspects in a growing number of rapes.{}Several may have happened at East Alabama night clubs and bars.{}As victims begin to come forward... More reports are coming in.{}Investigators are starting new patrols and {}looking for the community's help."These are the first{}reports we have had in awhile," Captain Regina May, Gadsden Police said.What started with two reports began to multiply."A couple of victims{}have come forward and told us their drinks{}were spiked at some local nightclubs and they were incapacitated," May said.{}"When{}they woke up, they realized what had{}happened."Investigators believe the offenders poisoned their victim's{}alcoholic drinks with date rape mixtures making the case even more{}difficult to crack."A lot of times,{}by the time they realize something has{}happened to them, they have bathed, and cleaned up the crime scene and{}washed their clothes," May said.Officers say the assailants use medication powders like Valium or{}Zanex and combined with alcohol{}the effects are extreme."Within 10-20{}minutes, {}a woman can become completely{}incapacitated," May said. "But in a bar setting, it just looks like she is intoxicated.""Second Chance" {}is working with sexual assault victims{}across several Northeast Alabama counties. It offers counseling, clothing, and side by side mentors. So far this{}year, it's had 38 crisis calls, 14 forensic exams and 74 follow ups."That's a big caseload," Susan Shipman, Director, Second Chance said. "That's a lot of{}work. That's a lot of victims."Helping these women isn't just a job for Susan..."I am a survivor of domestic and sexual{}assault and a majority of our staff are," Shipman said.{}"We do something that matters to women personally.""Unless it's happened to you, you don't{}know exactly how it feels for her," she said.{}If you have any information about the cases, contact Gadsden Police.

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