The tip was called in on Feb. 28 after investigators launched a website and billboard campaign, as reported on by The Washington Examiner and other news media outlets. A person from Prince George's County said that Aaron Thomas was the East Coast Rapist and provided authorities with additional information, police said. Thomas, 39, was already on a list of possible suspects that had been generated from a database containing millions of records.
Investigators kept surveillance on Thomas, and on Thursday picked up a cigarette butt that he threw away while waiting to appear in court in Connecticut. DNA from the cigarette matched that from evidence taken from the crime scenes.
The East Coast Rapist is wanted for 17 rapes and other attacks in Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island.