12/15/2014 11:40 EST | Updated 02/14/2015 05:59 EST

2 violent GTA sex assaults are linked; police warn public

Two violent sexual assaults — one this year in Richmond Hill and another last year in Mississauga — are likely linked, police said Monday, and investigators are asking the public to be vigilant in light of the discovery. 

The first occurred on Sept. 27, 2013, at about midnight in the area of South Service Road and Crestview Avenue in Mississauga. A female was exiting a public transit bus when an unknown man pulled out a weapon and forced the victim into a darkened area where he sexually attacked her, according to police. 

The second happened on Nov. 13, 2014, at around 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of Yonge Street and Bernard Avenue in Richmond Hill. A female victim had just stepped off a bus when an unknown man approached her, demanded money and then physically forced her into a dark area and sexually assaulted her.

The victim required hospital treatment after the attack, police said. 

Police believe the attacks follow a pattern.

The suspect is described as male, five-feet, ten-inches to six-feet tall with a muscular build. During both assaults, the attacker wore some kind of covering over his face. 

Investigators are asking anyone with any potentially helpful information or who may have experienced similar incidents to call the York Regional Police Special Victims Unit - Sexual Assault Section or leave a tip anonymously with Crime Stoppers. 

In light of the attacks, police are asking citizens to:

- Be aware of your surroundings.

- If possible, travel in pairs after dark.

- Avoid the use of headphones while walking.

- Walk in well-lit, high-traffic areas where possible.

- Notify people about your route and expected time of arrival.