DENVER – A man believed to be the convicted rapist who slipped through the hands of officers in November after confessing to another assault was captured Friday after attacking a woman and stealing her car, authorities said.
The man, who was believed to be Brent J. Brents, was in custody in Glenwood Springs, about 150 miles west of Denver, according to Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman (search).
Authorities were working to confirm his identity. "We're pretty confident, though, it's Brents," Whitman said.
Brents, 35, is suspected in the sexual assaults on five women and girls earlier this month in Denver (search), including attacks on two 11-year-old sisters and their 67-year-old grandmother. Women aged 29 and 44 were also attacked in separate incidents, according to an arrest warrant filed Friday in federal court.
"He is a repeat sex offender and pedophile who doesn't differentiate between men and women, boys and girls," Police Chief Gerry Whitman said.
Whitman said Brents was linked by DNA evidence to the string of rapes in Denver. He is also a suspect in an October sexual assault. In addition, police learned he was wanted by authorities in neighboring Aurora on charges of inappropriately touching a former girlfriend's 8-year-old son.
Aurora police interviewed Brents about the allegations Nov. 23, and he told officers the boy was telling the truth. An arrest warrant wasn't issued, however, until Jan. 26.
Aurora Police Chief Ricky Bennett said Brents was allowed to leave after his confession because additional investigation was needed.
"Our goal, again, is to achieve a successful prosecution here, not to make a quick and hasty arrest," Bennett said during a news conference Friday.
Karen Steinhauser, who prosecuted Brents for two rapes in 1988, said if he confessed to molesting the boy, there was probable cause to arrest him. "I would be concerned that you would be putting other people in the community at risk, particularly children," she said.
Brents was released from prison last July after being sent to the state hospital for about three years and then to prison for 14 years for raping a young boy and a girl. Steinhauser said she put together a deal in 1988 in which Brents pleaded innocent by reason of insanity to one of the rapes so he could get treatment.
"The whole intention was to get him off the street for a very lengthy period of time. And during that period of time, the intention was also to get him help," said Steinhauser, now a professor at the University of Denver Law School.