Detroit Rape Suspect Arrested

Detroit police have taken into custody a man they say is the primary suspect in six rapes of Detroit schoolgirls.

Police first arrested him on Thursday while he was allegedly stalking another potential victim. They lacked enough evidence to keep him in custody, however, so they released him and kept him under surveillance, Assistant Police Chief Charles Wilson said.

Police finally had enough evidence to arrest him and took him into custody Tuesday evening.

"That makes us feel proud," Wilson said at a news conference Tuesday with Mayor Dennis Archer and other police officials. "We want to assure the public that the police department is working hard to make Detroit a safe city."

The 27-year-old man has a criminal record that dates back a decade, although he has been convicted only once, Wilson said.

DNA tests link him to three of the rapes and the person who raped three other girls followed the same pattern as those three rapes, said Archer's press secretary, Gregory Bowens.

Archer said the news was welcome.

"I mentioned before that this has been a matter that has been personal to our police officers and it's personal to me," the mayor said. "I'm very proud of our police department."

Police were executing search warrants Tuesday night to find more proof to bolster their case against the man, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

There have been eight reports of girls being raped since school opened in September and 26 girls have also reported attempts to abduct them, though police said they had substantiated only three of those cases. The last rape was reported Nov. 3 and the last verified abduction attempt was Nov. 8.

Wilson warned, however, that there is at least one other suspect police still are looking for in the rapes.

The man arrested Tuesday also is a suspect in as many as three other rapes not related to the attacks on schoolgirls, Bowens said.

The schoolgirl attacks led city and school officials to ask city residents to pledge their time and resources toward the protection of schoolchildren, asking them to walk students to school and keep their eyes open for predators.

Schools began opening doors at 6:30 a.m. to students whose parents, because of their work schedules, might otherwise not be able to drive or walk them to school.

Additional police patrols have been added around schools and utility workers, taxi drivers and newspaper deliverers were signed up to help keep watch.

Safety efforts have included:

  • The demolition of 1,480 vacant buildings located within 400 yards of schools. Some 22 more will be demolished within the next three to four weeks.
  • Police officers, who usually begin their shifts at 8 a.m., have started at 6 a.m. The 263 officers patrol neighborhoods and school areas before they return to their regular duties.
  • More than 2,600 city vehicles assist with mornin and afternoon patrols.