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Entries in East Coast Rapist (5)

Monday
Mar072011

Alleged ‘East Coast Rapist’ to Cops: What Took You So Long?

Federal Bureau of Investigation(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- The man accused of raping 17 women in four states over a dozen years asked the police, "Why haven't you picked me up sooner?"

Aaron Thomas, 39, made his first court appearance in a Connecticut court Monday as police departments along the East Coast closed 12 years of cold cases and celebrated the mix of old-fashioned investigative work and modern technology that led to his arrest.

Police said that Thomas' DNA positively connects him to a dozen rapes and sexual assaults attributed to the so-called "East Coast Rapist." He was arrested Friday in New Haven, Conn.

Thomas appeared in court wearing a tan shirt, black ball cap and sunglasses. His wrists and ankles were shackled and he was surrounded by five marshals. He kept his head down through the hearing and never spoke.

Prosecutors said Thomas displayed a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality when it came to women and told the court he confessed to the rapes following his arrest.

Neither Thomas nor his lawyer entered a plea on his behalf. Bond was set at $1 million in the sex assault case and an additional $500,000 bond set for an extradition case.

Thomas, who is accused of violently attacking women and girls with a variety of weapons in Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, tried to hang himself Saturday in his jail cell hours after his arrest.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar062011

'East Coast Rapist' Attempts Jailhouse Suicide

Darrin Klimek/Digital Vision (file)(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- The suspected "East Coast Rapist" is back in jail Sunday after police in New Haven, Conn., say he attempted to hang himself in his cell Saturday.

Thirty-nine-year-old Aaron Thomas survived the attempted suicide and was returned to his cell after a brief stay at the hospital.

Thomas, who is set to appear in New Haven Superior Court on Monday, is the man suspected in the attacks of at least 17 women over 12 years. The sexual assaults occurred from Virginia to Rhode Island starting in 1997.

DNA evidence led to the arrest of Thomas on Friday by New Haven police for first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. DNA collected by the state police forensic lab subsequently confirmed that Thomas was responsible for the string of rapes perpetuated by the so called "East Coast Rapist."

Thomas is currently being held on $1 million bond.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar052011

'East Coast Rapist' Captured in Connecticut

Federal Bureau of Investigation(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Officials say that DNA from a man arrested in Connecticut on Friday confirms that he is the "East Coast Rapist" who has been terrorizing women with sexual assaults from Virginia to Rhode Island for more than 12 years.

Aaron Thomas, 39, was arrested by New Haven police for first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, and he is being held on $1 million bond, according to Lt. Julie Johnson.

At a press conference Saturday, officials praised the decade-spanning efforts of police to capture Thomas, which were stepped up early this week with a new website and billboard ad campaign.

Lt. Julie Johnson said DNA was collected and subsequently matched by the state police forensic lab confirming Thomas was the "East Coast Rapist."

In Prince William County, Virginia authorities are charging him with being a fugitive from justice as well as rape and abduction. His most recent alleged crimes took place in October of 2009, when three girls coming home from trick-or-treating were abducted and two were raped.

Authorities say he stalked and studies his victims, apparently attacking them in neighborhoods he knows well. He knows when they are most vulnerable, like when they are home alone with their children or when they failed to lock windows or doors, investigators say.

According to the New Haven Register, Thomas was caught after authorities trailed him for several days, having received a tip about a man who had a court appearance this past Thursday on an unrelated matter. Waiting for an opportunity to grab a sample of his DNA, authorities were able to obtain a cigarette butt Thomas discarded.

The "East Coast Rapist" is wanted for 17 rapes and other attacks in Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Virginia since 1997.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar042011

'East Coast Rapist' Suspect Captured in Connecticut

Federal Bureau of Investigation(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- Authorities announced Friday that they have captured the man they believe is the “East Coast Rapist.”

The suspect was arrested in New Haven, Connecticut on Friday, just days after authorities in four states intensified their manhunt for him by launching a website devoted to his capture.  Investigators reportedly made the arrest after DNA evidence was found linking the suspect to the crimes.

On Monday authorities launched the website, eastcoastrapist.com, that provided details of the attacks linked to the suspect, the most recent of which involved three girls in Prince William, Virginia on Halloween 2009. A number of billboards were also placed in several areas to alert the public about the rapist.

The East Coast Rapist is suspected of attacking at least 17 women over the past 13 years. All of the attacks occurred at night, near major highways. They began in Maryland, moved into Virginia, then up to Connecticut and Rhode Island and back to Virginia.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb272011

Authorities Use Website in Search for 'East Coast Rapist'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.) -- Authorities in four states are intensifying their search efforts for a man known as the "East Coast Rapist," who is suspected of attacking 17 women and girls in Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland since 1997.

At the center of the effort is a website, eastcoastrapist.com, that provides details of the attacks linked to the suspect, the most recent of which involved three girls in Prince William, Va., on Halloween 2009.

Police and the FBI are scheduled to formally announce the launch of the Web site at a news conference Monday. Officials say billboards will also be placed in several areas to alert the public about the search for the rapist. Authorities in Fairfax County are hoping that the renewed campaign will help someone recognize the man suspected of raping four women in the county from 1998 through 2001.

The East Coast Rapist is suspected in attacks on at least 17 women over the past 13 years. All of the attacks occurred at night, near major highways. They began in Maryland, moved into Virginia, then up to Connecticut and Rhode Island and back to Virginia.

Authorities say he stalks and studies his victims, apparently attacking them in neighborhoods he knows well. He knows when they are most vulnerable, like when they are home alone with their children or failed to lock windows or doors, investigators say.

In the Halloween incident, the man attacked and raped two 17-year-old girls at gunpoint while a third was able to text her mother and notify police. The rapist fled the scene as police closed in.

He is described as a 6-foot tall trim black man in his 30s who smokes, has a smooth voice, often wears black hats and camouflage clothing and once had a chipped tooth. The rapist wielded a handgun or a knife in several attacks, a screwdriver and broken bottle in others, and after some assaults he left feces near the crime scene.

In August 2009, law enforcement officials in Virginia began efforts to use familial DNA in the search for the rapist.

This effective yet controversial method identifies suspects through the DNA of a close blood relative who has already been in the criminal justice system after being arrested or convicted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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