Suspect arrested in Detroit “blow torch rapist” case

DETROIT - A man suspected of being the so-called “blow torch rapist” has been arrested by Detroit police, CBS Detroit reported Friday.

The Wayne County prosecutor's office says Roderick Neely is charged with unlawful imprisonment and assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct. He's in jail and due in court Saturday.

CBS Detroit said Neely, 24, was arrested Friday morning during an attempted home invasion along with another person 

Along with an attack this week, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Neely is being looked at in a couple of similar attacks last summer.

The latest attack occurred just before 7 a.m. Wednesday in a blighted neighborhood  on the city’s west side.

According to CBS Detroit, a 43-year-old woman told police she was leaving a gas station when a man came behind her and put a gun to her head. The woman said her attacker forced her into a car ripped off her clothes and began burning her face with a blow torch.

Police said the victim stabbed her attacker in the eye with a screwdriver and was able to get away and call for help.

 “Certainly we’re familiar with the two other incidents that occurred in July,” Craig told reporters. “It was a tragic situation. Two females … again, a blow torch was used.”

Deputy Police Chief Dave LeValle said authorities located the suspect’s vehicle, which matched the description of a car sought in connection with the attempted rape this week.

“We’ve since taken the vehicle into custody,”said LeValle. “Some additional evidence that investigators from (the Detroit police sex crimes unit) gathered leads us to believe that this is the suspect who committed the assault the day prior.”

The two women attacked last July were critically hurt, but survived.  Wednesday’s victim remained hospitalized in stable condition on Friday.

Photo credit:  Detroit Police Chief James Craig and Deputy Chief Dave LeValley speak to reporters about the arrest. (credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)