DENVER – A convicted rapist who is a suspect in a series of rapes, committed after he allegedly confessed to an earlier attack but was released, was returned to Denver on Saturday after being arrested while driving a stolen car.
Brent J. Brents (search) was arrested late Friday in Glenwood Springs, about 150 miles west of Denver, following a high-speed pursuit after police tracked him by following signals from a stolen cell phone, Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman said. He was being held in lieu of $25 million bail.
Brents, 35, is suspected in sexual assaults on five women and girls earlier this month in one Denver neighborhood.
"We have significant reason to believe that there are many, many additional victims," said Dave Fisher, the police department's chief of investigations.
Those attacks came nearly three months after police in Aurora let him go on Nov. 23 after questioning him about claims that he inappropriately touched a former girlfriend's 8-year-old son.
Aurora police said he told officers the boy was telling the truth, but no arrest warrant was issued until Jan. 26.
Aurora Police Chief Ricky Bennett said Brents was allowed to leave after his confession because additional investigation was needed.
"Our goal ... is to achieve a successful prosecution here, not to make a quick and hasty arrest," Bennett told a news conference Friday.
This month, Brent allegedly attacked five women, including two 11-year-old sisters and their 67-year-old grandmother, according to an arrest warrant. He is also a suspect in a sexual assault on a woman in a Denver alley in October.
"He is a repeat sex offender and pedophile who doesn't differentiate between men and women, boys and girls," Whitman said.
On Friday, another woman was assaulted and robbed in the same area where the other five assaults were reported. Police said the victim was brutally beaten, and she was listed in serious but stable condition at a Denver hospital.
"I was personally surprised he was so close," Whitman said.
That woman's cell phone and car were stolen, and Whitman said the phone helped lead to the capture.
"We were tracking the victim's cell phone up through (Interstate 70), notified the (state patrol) and local jurisdictions that the car, or at least the cell phone, was on its way up there," he said.
With that information, police spotted the assault victim's car. State and local officers chased it to Glenwood Springs (search), where Brents was arrested after the car struck a police vehicle, Whitman said.
Brents was with a woman when he was arrested. Police said she was also a victim, but they did not immediately disclose whether she had been kidnapped.
Brents had been released from prison in July after being sent to a state hospital for about three years and then to prison for 14 years for raping a young boy and a girl.
Karen Steinhauser (search), who prosecuted Brents for two rapes in 1988, 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.
On Saturday, about 250 people rallied outside a pet-supply shop where the shop's owner had been raped. Neighborhood resident Kevin McGlothlen said police helicopters have flown over the home he shares with his wife and their two children for a week since the latest attacks.
"As much as we appreciate the extra police on the streets, it's the things like neighborhood involvement, like turning on your lights...that make it possible to go outside in your own neighborhood."