Police in Russia's Volga Region are looking for a murderer suspected of killing at least 30 elderly women, local law enforcement officials said on Tuesday.
"In all these cases, the dead women were aged 75-90, living alone at home, in Khrushchev-era apartment buildings," the police said in a statement. "The suspect, having gained their trust, pretended to be from the housing maintenance service or social services, entered the apartment and strangled them with a belt, bathrobe belt or other such items."
Police have warned people to be careful of opening their doors to strangers claiming to be from the social services if they have not already arranged a visit.
The latest three killings took place in the city of Ufa, the capital of Bashkortostan, around September 25-27. A composite picture of the suspect has been made from witness descriptions, and video images have also been released of the murderer.
Investigators believe the number of victims could rise to at least 30. At least one of the killings took place in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, police say. A reward of 1 million rubles ($33,000) has been offered for information leading to the apprehension of the suspect.
The serial killer is not the first in Russia preying on old people recently. Irina Gaidamchuk, herself a retiree, was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison in June for killing at least 17 elderly women from 2003 to 2010. All the victims were battered to death and then robbed.