Arundel police charge homeless man in rape and beating of woman

DNA evidence, ATM photos link him to Severna Park attack

July 22, 2005|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,SUN STAFF

Using DNA evidence and photos taken from ATM surveillance cameras, the Anne Arundel Police Department has charged a homeless man in what the county's police chief called the "brutal" rape and assault of a Severna Park woman Saturday night.

Rodrick Lee Wren, 36, was charged with first-degree rape, first and second-degree assault, and first degree burglary. He was arrested in Glen Burnie on Wednesday and booked at the Northern District police station. At a bail hearing yesterday, Anne Arundel County Judge Megan B. Johnson ruled that he will be held without bail. A trial date has not yet been set. If convicted of the charges, he faces life in prison.

"I was really worried about this man because it was a very brutal crime," Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan said yesterday. "From my experience, I thought he might have done it before, or we'd see it again."

According to police documents filed with the court, the suspect forced his way into the victim's home in the 100 block of Old County Road around 11 p.m. Saturday.

He "punched her in the face - fracturing several bones - blindfolded her, bound her legs and arms" and raped her repeatedly, according to police documents. He was in the house for nearly two hours, according to the documents. After raping her, the suspect stole a few of her belongings, including her ATM card, police said. He forced her to reveal the PIN, according to police documents. And, before he left, he made an effort to clean the crime scene, Shanahan said. Police declined to elaborate on how he attempted to cover his tracks.

After he left, the victim called the police and was taken to the Baltimore Washington Medical Center, where she was treated. Hospital staff also took samples of her attacker's saliva. (The Sun does not disclose the names of victims of sexual attacks.) Meanwhile, the suspect went to several local banks Sunday to withdraw funds using the stolen ATM card, enabling police to electronically track his movements and obtain photographs of him from the banks' surveillance cameras, police said.

The man was "familiar with the neighborhood," Shanahan said. "He was semi-homeless, staying in a wooded area nearby."

In court documents, Wren's address is listed as being in the 1300 block of Passage Drive in Odenton.

On Monday, police said they found Wren in Severna Park. At that time, they did not have enough evidence to arrest him, but police did persuade him to give them a swab of his saliva - which police rushed to the county DNA/serology lab for testing.

The results came back Wednesday, and Wren's saliva matched samples from the woman.

"We got him off the street as soon as we got his DNA identified," Shanahan said. "In the past [the testing] would taken weeks. We would have to send it off to the state police or federal labs."

In this case, the DNA was particularly important because of the efforts he made to cover his tracks, Shanahan said.

"Our evidence-collection people were that much more determined to find physical evidence," Shanahan said.

Shanahan praised his officers for their quick and thorough work on the case.

"It was a really coordinated effort," he said.

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