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Police arrest suspect in rape of girl in van

A man released from prison in September and put on a watch list of the state's most violent offenders has been arrested in the rape of a 14-year-old girl who police said was lured into a van in West Baltimore and attacked by five men.

The suspect, 22-year-old Lucky Christopher Crosby Jr., was wearing a state prison-issued GPS monitor on his ankle when he was arrested this weekend, police said, allowing detectives to pinpoint his precise movements when the girl said she was attacked on Oct. 23.

According to police charging documents, detectives determined the suspect was in the back of his own home "during the time that the incident would have occurred" and was "stationary for over 20 minutes." Crosby lives in the 1500 block of Leslie St. in Sandtown-Winchester, the same block on which police said the attack occurred.

Detectives are still searching for four other assailants and declined to comment on the case. A District Court judge ordered Crosby held without bail on Monday. He is charged with 28 criminal counts, including charges of rape, handgun possession, false imprisonment, sex offenses and assault. Crosby does not have an attorney and relatives could not be reached for comment.

Crosby had served five years in prison after being convicted of armed robbery and using a handgun during a crime in June 2008. Inmates typically serve about two-thirds of their sentences in Maryland, and prison officials said Crosy was freed on mandatory release on Sept. 7, after serving three years and three months.

That put Crosby under the supervision of state parole and probation officials until his sentence was to expire in March 2013. Rick Binetti, a spokesman for the state prison system, said newly released inmates are typically put on GPS monitoring for up to 60 days.

That helps officials determine whether a former inmate such as Crosby has been compliant with the terms of release. Binetti said Crosby has no violations since he got out of prison two months ago — he checked in with agents on time, obtained a job and passed drug tests. Officials said Crosby also had a curfew, which he complied with.

Binetti said that Crosby was not under home detention, which would have put stringent restrictions on his movements. He said Crosby was under GPS monitoring, which allows officials to see where he went, but he was allowed to travel as he pleased.

Binetti said GPS monitoring — unlike with home detention that alerts authorities when a person leaves a restricted area — is not monitored in real time. "It is another tool to help the department keep up on them," the spokesman said. "The purpose of the GPS is to be able to check on the person's whereabouts over a period of time. If you are supposed to be at work, we can tell if you were there."

State officials said this case worked the way the program is designed — helping, Binetti said, give police "intel and information about possible suspects under state supervision."

Crosby is one of about 2,200 people on the state's Violence Prevention Initiative, of which 1,300 during any given month are from Baltimore City. It is a way for parole and probation agents to select which people get the most frequent and intense checks, and they are supposed to hold people on the list accountable for even the most minor infractions.

The program has been credited with reducing crime by keeping better track of the offenders deemed most likely to be problems upon their release.

The Oct. 23 attack on the girl occurred Sunday afternoon. She told police that she lives in a group home and was visiting her family who had recently moved to West Baltimore. She had been walking through the neighborhood with her brother and cousin, but had walked away from them after an argument.

According to the police charging document, the girl said she didn't have her glasses because they had broken, and "this made it difficult for her to read street signs as to where she was at. [victim] kept trying to figure out where she was."

The girl told police that she ended up in a parking lot and was approached by a man wearing his hair in a pony tail who offered her a ride. She said she got into a brown or tan van that was parked in the lot, off Leslie Street, and saw two other men inside. Two other men then got into the vehicle.

Police said that one of the men told the girl he had a gun and ordered to her to take off her clothes. The girl was raped by two men and sexually assaulted by the other three. After the attack, police said the men let the girl out of the van and she noticed she was in the 1500 block of Leslie St.

The girl used a woman's cellphone to call her mother, and they contacted police. Two days later on Oct. 25, detectives later took the girl to the neighborhood to retrace her steps. The next day, police said they found a tan 1996 Ford van parked on Stricker Street, registered to Crosby at the Leslie Street address. Police said the man had his hair tied up in the back.

Police said in charging documents that the girl identified Crosby from a picture in a photo array.

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