St. Paul police arrested a man suspected of raping three women at gunpoint and believe he may be linked to more attacks.
The 38-year-old St. Paul man was arrested during a traffic stop about 1 p.m. Tuesday and is being held in the Ramsey County jail on three counts of probable cause first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He allegedly raped three women at gunpoint inside his van, and is linked to each case via DNA evidence, said police spokesman Steve Linders.
The suspect had not been charged as of Wednesday afternoon.
Linders said police are investigating whether he is linked to other cases in St. Paul and elsewhere, and believe he “may be.”
“We threw everything we had at this because we’re incredibly concerned,” he said.
According to police: The suspect allegedly committed the crimes on Aug. 30, Sept. 22 and Oct. 25on the city’s East Side.
In August, officers encountered a woman near the SuperAmerica gas station in the 1100 block of Payne Avenue. She told them a man approached her in a gold or tan minivan, asked if she needed a ride and then assaulted her at gunpoint.
In September, officers found a woman walking on Payne Avenue near Magnolia Avenue. The woman, who was not wearing a shirt, told them she had been robbed and raped at gunpoint.
In October, officers happened upon a woman, who was unclothed, about 11:50 p.m. as she ran across Case Ave. E. She told officers she had just been raped and released by her attacker.
The woman said she was walking on Payne Avenue near Geranium Avenue about 11:30 p.m. when a tan minivan pulled up. The driver asked for her name, and she ignored him.
A short time later, she heard a noise behind her and turned around. She saw a man about 6 feet tall, with a medium build, wearing a black ski mask, a worn baseball cap, black pants and a light-colored jacket over a sweatshirt.
The man motioned with his head to a small, black semiautomatic handgun in his hand, according to police. He told her not to scream and threatened harm if she did not follow his instructions. He forced the woman to walk to the tan minivan parked nearby on Geranium Avenue between Payne Avenue and Greenbrier Street and assaulted her.
Linders said police found the suspect with the help of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and U.S. marshals. Authorities found two handguns linked to the suspect in the course of their investigation.
Anyone with information about the suspect or cases that could be linked to him is asked to call police at 651-266-5685.