Madeleine McCann investigators say 18 assaults may be linked

Madeleine McCann Investigators Say 18 Assaults May Be Linked

There has been a new development in the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann.

The BBC reports British police investigating the girl's disappearance are now examining potentially linked break-ins by a lone intruder into villas in Algarve, Portugal.

According to Channel 5 News these six new incidents include five new cases of sexual assault of British girls on holiday in Portugal and one "near miss" in which the intruder was "essentially stopped before he attacked."

That means there are now 18 "potentially linked crimes" at Portuguese resorts near the one where 3-year-old Madeleine disappeared during a family vacation in June 2007, reports CNN.

According to The Guardian, these six new cases were reported after police issued an appeal for information last month about a predator breaking into hotel rooms of British families who were on vacation.

Authorities had described the suspect as a tan man with short, dark hair who spoke in English with an unknown accent. ABC points out they did not release any new information about the suspected intruder Wednesday.

Scotland Yard told the BBC it hopes to begin "operational activity" in Portugal as soon as possible. It's unclear exactly what those operations will involve.