DALLAS (AP) — A crime-watch volunteer suspected of raping four women in a Dallas neighborhood has been arrested more than 400 miles away after police traced him to a Louisiana motel, police said Tuesday.
Van Dralan Dixson, 38, was arrested in Baton Rouge, La., where he is being held in jail awaiting his return to Texas, Dallas Police Maj. Jeff Cotner said. Police said DNA evidence has so far linked Dixson to four sexual assaults in Dallas' Fair Park neighborhood, where investigators believe as many as nine rapes this summer are linked to the same attacker.
Cotner said "contacts" between Dixson and individuals in Dallas helped track him to the motel, but he said no other details would be released until Wednesday.
Dallas authorities briefly took Dixson into custody last week and obtained a DNA sample from him, but they lacked evidence to bring charges at the time. Dixson was charged Saturday in one of the attacks, but police found his abandoned car the next day in a Dallas suburb.
Arrest warrants charge Dixson with four counts of aggravated sexual assault. DNA test results from two other attacks were pending, while DNA evidence from two more in the inner-city neighborhood were not available, Cotner has said.
Neighbors said that as a crime-watch volunteer, Dixson would patrol the streets several times a week.
"He just walks every night, all night," one resident, Billy Washington, told Dallas television station WFAA. "Every time I would look out my window, or out my door, he was walking."
Dixson has been part of the area's neighborhood crime-watch group, the Mill City Community Association, since January. The group's president, Alendra Lyons, didn't return messages from The Associated Press.
State criminal records show Dixson was arrested and convicted of aggravated robbery in 1993. He was also arrested as recently as last month on a deadly conduct charge, according to Dallas County records.
Authorities say they believe one man is responsible for the nine sexual assaults that have been reported in the Fair Park area since June. In each incident, the attacker approached his victims in the early morning hours, forced them to secluded areas nearby, then robbed and sexually assaulted them.
The assailant in each case was armed with a handgun, wore shorts and a T-shirt, and masked his face using various types of cloth, according to police. The victims said they were approached on foot.
A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to arrests and an indictment in the cases.