An accused serial rapist charged in 13 cases with sexually assaulting and terrorizing women could be linked to more crimes, authorities said.
Jory Wiebrand, 34, of Ham Lake, appeared in Hennepin County District Court Wednesday to answer to charges including first-degree criminal sexual conduct, criminal sexual predatory conduct and burglary, among others. He is jailed in lieu of bail amounts ranging from $30,000 to $2 million.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said afterward that authorities are investigating three to four other cases that could be linked to him.
“We believe he is the classic example of a serial rapist,” Freeman said. “…He stalked victims — usually at night — would approach them, sometimes attack them in parking lots, in porches, sometimes breaking into their homes.
“We don’t see a whole lot these kinds of cases, thankfully, because this doesn’t normally occur, or, because we’re able to solve them quickly.”
One of Wiebrand’s two attorneys, Lindsay Siolka, said it was too early to comment on the allegations.
“Discovery is ongoing,” Siolka said, referring to the process of reviewing evidence.
Wiebrand was in court for a first appearance on three cases filed against him Tuesday, and an omnibus hearing in other cases that had been previously filed.
Authorities alleged that Wiebrand terrorized women in Minneapolis for years.
The cases against him in Hennepin County go as far back as 2015, with most of the alleged crimes occurring from early 2019 through early 2020. He is also suspected in assaults in Anoka County.
Some of the charges against Wiebrand allege that he pepper sprayed and attacked Brooke Morath at night as she brushed snow off her car, attacked a woman as she smoked on her patio and threw a woman to the ground in her backyard before choking and assaulting her. Morath was featured in the Star Tribune’s 2018 “Denied Justice,” investigation, which documented about systemic failings in the investigation and prosecution of rape cases.
He allegedly attacked a woman as she sat in her car to warm it up, and grabbed another woman as she put belongings in the trunk of her car.
Many of the alleged crimes occurred in northeast and southeast Minneapolis.
“This is the sort of stuff that scares all of us,” Freeman said, adding that no other similar cases have occurred since Wiebrand’s April 17 arrest. “…We’re going to throw everything we got at him.”
Wiebrand evaded detection because although he left DNA evidence at the alleged crime scenes, there was no match with DNA samples in a national database used to solve crimes, Freeman said.
Wiebrand had not been previously convicted of a serious crime that would have required him to submit a DNA sample to the database.
Freeman commended Minneapolis police’s “great work” in identifying Wiebrand.
Police found a fingerprint Wiebrand allegedly left behind on a piece of glass at the scene of a burglary last year that matched the pattern of burglaries linked to sexual assaults, Freeman said.
Police matched the print to Wiebrand’s fingerprints that were on file from his previous booking in jail on other, lower-level offenses.
“Once we got a search warrant and we were able to get his DNA, we were off to the races,” Freeman said.
Freeman also credited the work of a veteran prosecutor he embedded with the Minneapolis police sex crimes unit a year ago.
Freeman said his office will not try all the cases in one trial, or try Wiebrand multiple times.
The office will initially try a few cases and then “often they come together,” or, the defendant chooses to plead, Freeman said.
Siolka said it’s too early to determine how she and co-counsel, Tiffany Spoor, want the cases tried, or, whether Wiebrand would consider any plea deals.
Wiebrand is due back in court July 9 for another omnibus hearing; all of the cases are expected to be heard at one time moving forward.