East Coast Rapist Arrested

By: CBS
By: CBS

Police say they've cracked the case of a rapist who terrorized women along the east coast and in New England over a 12-year period.

Police cars filled the streets of this New Haven neighborhood Friday night to arrest 39-year-old Aaron Thomas.

A day later, neighbors expressed shock that a seemingly-normal guy who lived in this two-story home is accused of raping multiple women up and down the east coast.

"Normal guy, normal clothes, normal car, would just go into the house and come back out again," said neighbor Tom Chambers.

But police say Thomas's actions were anything but normal. They say he's the man they named the East Coast Rapist for committing at least 17 rapes and other attacks in four states.

The website eastcoastrapist.com, designed to drum up publicity about the string of rape cases, now reads captured. Police also recently posted electronic billboards in the states where the rapes occurred and in neighboring states to draw the public's attention to the crimes.

Officers in Prince William County, Virginia got an anonymous tip in the past week.

"Recent information was developed in this case,” said Lt. Julie Johnson. “DNA was collected and subsequently matched by CT state forensics lab, confirming that Thomas was the East Coast rapist."

The rapes started in 1997, occurring in Maryland, Virginia, Rhode Island and in this neighborhood in New Haven. In that case, the suspect threatened to kill a woman's infant son before attacking her.

The last rape tied to the suspect was Halloween night in 2009 when a man raped two teenaged trick-or-treaters in Woodbridge, Virginia.

Thomas faces charges of rape, abduction and sexual assault. He'll make his first court appearance Monday.

Thomas is being held on one million dollars bond. He had one previous arrest for larceny in September.


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