NEW HAVEN, Conn.—At around 2:15 p.m. on Friday, the “East Coast Rapist” suspect Aaron Thomas, a 39-year-old unemployed truck driver, was finally captured in New Haven, Conn. The arrest was a collaborative effort amongst U.S. Marshals, the Capitol Area Regional Fugitive Task Forces and the New Haven police.
On Saturday, Thomas attempted suicide, trying to hang himself using his clothing. He was stopped by the detention facility’s staff. After a short visit to the hospital, Thomas was returned to and remains at the detention facility.
The “East Coast Rapist” case consists of 17 sexual assaults since 1997. In February 1997, the “East Coast Rapist” attacked a female bicyclist at gunpoint in Maryland. The last incident occurred in 2009 when two teenagers were attacked on Halloween in Virginia.
To solve the case, police posted the then unidentified suspect’s composite sketch on electronic billboards across six states and a website called eastcoastrapist.com. However, the final and essential piece of evidence that led to the suspect’s identification and subsequent arrest was a discarded cigarette butt that provided a sample of Thomas’s DNA.
Aaron Thomas is scheduled to appear in New Haven Superior Court. His bail has been set at $1 million.