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Search for serial rapist difficult

Police in Prince William, Fairfax and Prince George's counties and Leesburg made headlines over the past couple of days with a news conference announcing that there's a serial rapist on the loose.

The bottom line is they need your help in finding him. They've told us about this serial rapist before and had no luck in tracking him down. They want to get him before he strikes again.

Seven years ago police in the Washington area realized there was the same serial rapist at work. DNA evidence proved that one man had attacked women in Fairfax County, Prince George's County and Leesburg.

In 2002, area police asked for the public's help to find the man. In 2007, Fairfax County police renewed their plea and said the rapist had been linked to attacks in New Haven, Ct.

There were a few tips. But every one led to a dead end.

Even as police in several states worked together, the investigation shows how difficult it can be to find a criminal who is a stranger to his victims and whose pattern shifts. He has attacked women on the street and has broken into homes. He has used guns, knives and a screwdriver to overpower the women.

"The offender has targeted black, Hispanic and white females who range in age from teenagers to in their 40s," Prince William County Police Chief Charlie T. Deane said at a Wednesday press conference.

Prince George's County Deputy Police Chief Kevin Davis said the victims can't provide detailed descriptions. The rapist often struck in the dark and wore a mask or a hoodie.

"The descriptions are generic," Davis said."To get a detailed description from a sexual assault victim is a lot to ask. He's on you, the height and weight is difficult."

Fairfax County Police Chief David M. Rohrer said the crimes are one reason his department launched a cold case sex crimes unit.

The attacker returned Halloween night, raping two Dale City teenage girls who were returning home from trick-or-treating. Police, again asking for help, hope someone will point them to a man who was in the Washington area at the time of the attacks here, and was in Connecticut and Rhode Island when the attacker struck there in 2006 and 2007.

Police asked people to provide names of friends, neighbors even family members they have suspicions about. They stressed that, with DNA evidence in hand, they can quickly rule out anyone who is innocent.

"Someone knows this offender, someone will recognize this pattern of behavior," Rohrer said.

Police ask that anyone with information call Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS.
-- Maria Glod

By Maria Glod  |  December 17, 2009; 11:49 AM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Loudoun , Maria Glod , Personal Safety , Pr. George's , Pr. William , The Region , Unsolved  
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