Break in Serial Rape Case

The “a.m. rapist” broke into the homes of five women while they were sleeping

By Tony Shin
|  Tuesday, Aug 18, 2009  |  Updated 5:04 AM PDT
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Break in Serial Rape Case

Police knew all five cases were related because they all had the same DNA.

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Break in Serial Rape Case

The a.m. rapist is off the streets and behind bars, according to police.
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It may have been almost ten years ago, but Alex Acevedo said he still remembered the young woman who lived in a home across the alley from his home on Vanitie Court.

"She was just a kid, Maybe 19 or 20, she was a good kid," the Mission Beach resident said.

He also remembers the day in February 2001, when she told him the shocking news.

"She's like, ‘I just got back from the hospital and the police department. I was raped last night’."

Alex said the suspect had entered through an open window on the bottom floor. 

"Popped out the screen, jumped in, there was another back room she was sleeping in, he went in the house, held her by knifepoint and raped her," he said.

That man turned out to be a serial rapist, know as the “a.m. rapist,” who broke into the homes of five women while they were sleeping, and then sexually assaulted them between June 2000 and February 2001.

"It was frustrating because we knew all five cases were related because they all had the same DNA," Lt. Rick O'Hanlon said.

But investigators couldn't match that DNA to anyone in the National Criminal Database. Then, late last month, detectives got a break.
"It was just another piece of evidence that I can't go into at this point, but that evidence gave us a name," Lt. O'Hanlon said.

The name was Stephen Richardson -- a 33-year-old former San Diego resident, who now lives in a northwest Chicago community called Arlington Heights.

"Obviously, the victims are very relieved and very thankful that we were able to catch this guy," Lt. O'Hanlon said.

Investigators say Richardson's DNA is a positive match for all five cases. He’s scheduled to be arraigned early next week.

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