Share

'East Coast Rapist' indicted in six Prince George's County rapes

|
Local,Maryland,Crime,Scott McCabe,Prince Georges County

Aaron Thomas, the so-called East Coast Rapist who faces five life sentences in Virginia, will now have his day in court in Maryland.

The former truck driver and son of a D.C. police officer was been indicted in six rapes in Prince George's County between 1997 and 2001. His arraignment is scheduled for April 13.

Angela Alsobrooks, the Prince George's County State's Attorney, said the indictments send a message that all criminals will be held responsible for their actions -- even if they are already expected to spend the rest of their lives behind bars. Virginia does not have parole.

"It is important that we prosecute him for the attacks he committed in our county, so these six victims can receive justice and closure from this terrible incident in their lives," said Alsobrooks.

Authorities have said that Thomas, a former truck driver and the son of a D.C. police officer, is responsible for more than 17 attacks across Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Thomas is serving three life sentences and 80 years for a 2009 Halloween attack on three teenage trick-or-treaters in Dale City, and two more life sentences for a 2001 attack of a woman in Leesburg.

The break in the case came in February 2011 after investigators began a website and digital billboard campaign. A person from Prince George's County contacted authorities to say that Thomas was the East Coast Rapist, police said.

Thomas was already on a list of possible suspects that had been generated from a database containing millions of records, said police.

U.S. Marshals deputies and police officers from the D.C. area were sent to New Haven, Conn., to help keep surveillance on Thomas, an unemployed truck driver.

Authorities used a discarded cigarette to obtain Thomas' DNA and connect him to the crime scenes.

The sexual assaults first began in Prince George's County in February 1997 when Thomas was 19.

Authorities said he used a gun to pull a woman into the woods in Forestville, then fled on a 10-speed bicycle. Seven months later, a woman was raped behind a restaurant garbage bin; followed by the rape of a 16-year-old girl.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment