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East Area Rapist Linked To Rash Of Rancho Cordova Cat Burglaries

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It's a cold case with brand new details.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department is revealing new evidence in their search for the East Area Rapist.

The killer is one of the most prolific criminals in U.S. history.

Between 1976 and 1986, investigators believe he's responsible for 50 rapes and 12 murders.

He is a killer who tormented his victims, phoning survivers with more threats, leaving entire neighborhoods in fear he could strike again.

"He'd be anywhere from 65 to 75 right now," Det. Paul Belli said.

Belli has been tracking down leads, with boxes of evidence, trying to finally solve this East Area Rapist cold case.

Now for the first time publicly, investigators are also linking the East Area Rapist to another crime spree in a Rancho Cordova neighborhood, where there were some 30 cat burglaries in the early 1970s.

In one incident, a suspect entered a home and a woman, armed with a gun, confronted him. A shot went off, and the burglar left.

A composite sketch from details she gave a lead detective at the time has been rediscovered, and it bears remarkable similarities to other East Area Rapist sketches.

"We've only recently been able, to over the last couple years gather all of that information," Detective Belli said.

A green Opel sedan is also part of the new evidence. A witness saw the cat burglary spree suspect driving it.

Belli believes the man who killed a dozen and raped dozens more, is still alive.

"I believe he is," he said. "If he's out there. And if he were to be contacted, I think he's absolutely a threat."

All this new evidence is now located on a Sacramento Sheriff website launched Tuesday.

Belli says over the four decades they've been on this case.

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