A Glenn Dale man was arrested last night as a suspect in four Prince George's County rapes in which the victims were attacked in their homes by a masked man armed with a crossbow, Prince George's County police said.
Alphonzo Quinn, 36, of the 4300 block of Rockport Lane, was arrested about 6:30 p.m. after police said he telephoned a victim from a Washington pay phone. Mr. Quinn was arrested a short distance from the pay phone, in the 5900 block of E. Capitol St., after police traced the call using a monitor placed on the victim's telephone. Police, who said he had no weapons, did not disclose why the victim was called.
Police charged Mr. Quinn, who is unemployed and is married, with one count of first-degree rape for the Sept. 5 attack of a woman in the Northridge section of Bowie. Although he is unemployed, police said that he had worked as an alarm system FTC installer. Police, who said he lived one block away from his first reported victim, said they expect to file other charges after he is extradited to Maryland.
They also said they plan to obtain a warrant to search Mr. Quinn's home.
"The people of Bowie can rest more comfortably this evening," said Prince George's County Police Chief David Mitchell. "We are certain we have the man who committed these crimes."
A dozen Prince George's police investigators had been assigned to catch the masked rapist, who dressed in black combat boots and gloves, attacked four women in Prince George's County since June 7, two of them in the Northridge community of Bowie, one in Greenbelt, and one in Glenn Dale.
Police said the attacker apparently hid among trees, spying on homes for possible victims. After targeting a home, he would break in through a sliding glass door between 3 and 5 in the morning and sneak into the victim's bedroom, police said.
In each case the woman was awakened, tied up and raped, police said. Three of the victims were home alone at the time of the attacks, while the fourth was raped in front of her husband after the intruder tied him up and forced him to watch, police said. Some of the victims reported that the rapist, in addition to a crossbow, also carried a rifle or a shotgun, police said.
Investigators have not determined how the victims were selected. All of the women have been white and in their mid-20s or mid-30s and lived in homes with woods behind them.
The rapist had caused a wave of fear in nearby communities as residents and local officials took steps to prevent further attacks. In nearby Crofton, the town's four police officers had stepped up their patrols and Police Chief Deborah Bogush offered tips on making homes safer.
"One woman called town hall just to see if she should be frightened and what precautions she should take," said Crofton Town Manager Barbara Swann. "I told her she should be concerned. It's not like it is 100,000 miles across the ocean. He's close."
Police had warned that residents should consider buying motion-detector lights for the outside of their houses and to install bolts on the side of sliding glass doors to prevent someone from lifting them off the track. The latter is a trick the rapist used to enter homes, police said.
What has been particularly frightening about the crossbow rapist is that he shatters traditional ideas about safety -- such as having guard dogs, not being alone and keeping doors locked, )) said Sheila D. Schneider, who started an anti-crime group for women in Crofton.