One Arrested, One Sought in Serial Rapist Investigation - NBC Bay Area

One Arrested, One Sought in Serial Rapist Investigation

Investigators began connecting a series of Southern California assaults in 2006 and have surveillance video of several attacks



    When Riverside Police arrested Maurice Jennings, of Corona, they thought they had caught the man behind a string of sexual assaults since 2003. While police are confident Jennings committed multiple sexual assaults, his DNA does not match the man they believe raped more than 20 women. Jacob Rascon reports from Riverside for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2013. (Published Friday, Oct. 11, 2013)

    Riverside police announced Thursday morning that they arrested one person and continue to search for a second individual in a series of sexual assaults and other violent crimes in Southern California.

    Authorities made the announcement -- previously, investigators believed one man was responsible for the crimes -- at a Thursday news conference. Authorities said they were "surprised" to learn two people were involved in the crimes.

    Maurice Jennings (pictured, right), arrested Sept. 27, is accused of robbery and sexual assault of three women in November 2008 and the robbery of two women January 2009. Most of the information that led to the Corona man's arrest became available after authorities received anonymous tips and released surveillance video of the crimes late last month, according to investigators. 

    But DNA collected from other crime scenes, including massage parlors and spas, excluded Jennings from those crimes. That development led investigators to search for a second attacker, connected to five other crimes by DNA evidence.

    "We thought we had one suspect committing these crimes," said Riverside Police detective Rita Cobb. "But, in reality, we had two."

    The second subject's identity has not been determined. Authorities are investigating whether additional attacks were committed by Jennings or the other individual (surveillance image, left).

    The two men are not believed to be acquainted, but their tactics were similar, according to police. They usually threatened and intimiated the victims before the assaults.

    In at least one case, a gun was displayed.

    The assaults -- some of which occurred at massage parlors in three Southern California counties -- date to 2003, then ended in 2009 Investigators said more recent crimes might not have been reported.

    Investigators began connecting the attacks in 2006, when Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives looking into the assault of a massage therapist in Industry became aware of a similar assault near Fontana in San Bernardino County. Three years later, Riverside investigators submitted a sample in another case to California's Department of Justice, but were not notified of the matches until April 2012 because of a backlog in the system.

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