"East Coast Rapist" suspect Aaron Thomas asked what took so long, says prosecutor

"East Coast Rapist" suspect Aaron Thomas asked what took so long, says prosecutor
Aaron Thomas leaves New Haven Superior Court after his arraignment

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBS/WFSB/AP) - Aaron Thomas, the man suspected of being the "East Coast Rapist," made his first court appearance Monday in Superior Court in New Haven, Conn.

According to a prosecutor who spoke at the arraignment, when Thomas was arrested he asked police, "Why haven't you picked me up sooner?"

Thomas' bond was set at $1.5 million, according to CBS affiliate WFSB.

The hearing occurred two days after police said Thomas attempted to commit suicide while in custody. According to investigators, Thomas tried to hang himself with pieces of his clothing and was taken to Yale-New Haven hospital but suffered no serious injuries, CBS affiliate WFSB reports.

Prosecutor David Strollo said DNA from a discarded cigarette confirmed that Thomas was the man wanted in attacks that began in 1997.

Thomas is believed responsible for rapes and other attacks on 17 women since 1997, according to police. In the Connecticut case, police say in 2007 the rapist went through an open window at an apartment complex and sexually assaulted a 27-year-old woman while her 11-month-old son was in the room.

The rape cases date back to 2006 starting in Rhode Island. The most recent attack was in 2009 on Halloween in Virginia. Police said the victims were trick-or-treating when a man approached them with a gun and raped two of the three young women, both 17-years-old.

Click here for complete coverage of the East Coast Rapist case on Crimesider.