Alleged serial rapist targeting couples arrested

April 19, 2012 2:59:50 PM PDT
Police say they've arrested a serial rapist who was targeting couples who were checking into local motels.

"We haven't seen a serial rapist like this in 20 years," said Albert Cernardas, First Assistant Prosecutor.

First Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernardas doesn't use the term serial rapist lightly.

He is talking about 36-year-old Rasheed Powell.

He's now charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual assault or rape among other crimes.

Six times in the last six weeks, investigators say Powell stalked couples going into motels.

He struck two in Elizabeth and two others in Linden.

He would force his way into the room after them at gunpoint.

"He would then tell the man to have sex with the woman. After that he would force the guy into the bathroom and then he would have sex with the woman," Cernardas said.

Sometimes he would make the man have sex with the woman again.

It's a pattern so unique, it would be his undoing.

After the attacks last weekend, Powell was arrested Monday.

"He was doing this on a weekly basis. Someone was going to get hurt. He had a gun. Someone was going to die. It was imperative we got him off the streets," Cernardas said.

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