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Police capture Colorado serial rape suspect

Authorities tracked ex-convict through stolen cell phone

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Suspect in a string of sexual assaults is captured.
Denver (Colorado)
Sex Crimes
Crime, Law and Justice

(CNN) -- An ex-convict suspected in a string of violent sexual assaults that spread fear through the city of Denver, Colorado, has been captured after being tracked through a stolen cell phone, police said Saturday.

Brent J. Brents, 35, was taken into custody Friday night after a short chase with police in Glenwood Springs, about 160 miles west of Denver. Brents was driving the stolen car of an alleged victim, police said.

Brents is being held on a $25 million bond and will face a variety of charges, including multiple counts of sexual assault, aggravated assault and burglary, Denver District Attorney Mitchell Morrissey said.

"We're still looking at a lot of things as far as the charges go," Morrissey said at a news conference Saturday afternoon. "I guarantee you we'll have him charged with some of the most violent offenses that are in the criminal code in Colorado."

Brents is a suspect in at least six sexual assaults, including five this month in the neighborhoods around Cheesman Park in downtown Denver, as well as an attack on a woman Friday night, police said. She is in serious condition at a Denver hospital.

According to local media reports, Brents had confessed to molesting an 8-year-old boy in suburban Aurora in November, but was not arrested.

Aurora police defended their actions, saying more investigation had been needed before they could make a sufficient case to arrest Brents.

Police launched a round-the-clock manhunt for Brents on Wednesday, after his DNA matched with evidence collected this month.

Denver police Chief Gerald Whitman said Saturday that he believes there are additional victims and encouraged them to come forward.

"I would be astonished if this guy hasn't committed other crimes," Whitman said.

The manhunt for Brents galvanized Denver, and more than 200 police officers were assigned to the case.

"I am delighted to be able to say this nightmare is over," said Mayor John Hickenlooper, who praised police for their work.

Tracking the suspect

The break in the case came Friday night, after police were called to a vacant apartment where a woman had been assaulted and badly beaten. Police would not say if she had been sexually assaulted.

Brents may have been hiding in the vacant apartment where the assault occurred, Whitman said.

Whitman said that by tracking the stolen cell phone, police were able to determine that the perpetrator was heading west along Interstate 70. Police in Glenwood Springs were alerted to the stolen car, and they arrested Brents, the chief said.

An injured woman was found in the car with Brents, and was taken to a local hospital, Whitman said. He refused to say if she was connected to Brents or to the assault Friday night.

Brents was released from prison last year after serving more than 16 years for sexual assaults on two children in 1988.

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