Escaped Miami serial rapist suspect caught

Dec. 27, 2005 at 8:10 AM

MIAMI, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- A sharp-eyed civilian enabled Miami-Dade police to recapture a suspected serial rapist who escaped using a bed sheet rope from prison a week ago.

Police received a call from a person who had spotted Reynaldo Rapalo at a strip mall, and gave a detailed description of the civilian clothes he was wearing, the Miami Herald reported.

A 16-member tactical narcotics team was in the area and gave chase, said Miami-Dade Police Director Robert Parker.

The detectives approached the suspect and directed him to sit, but he ran off through the parking lot. With the help of a canine tracker, police nabbed the suspects and confiscated a knife.

Rapalo was arrested in September 2003 and accused of raping seven females, ages 11 to 79, and attempting to attack four others in Miami. He was set to be tried in February.

He escaped Dec. 20 from the prison near Miami International Airport by using dozens of bed sheets to rappel down at least six stories.

The tipster who called police will remain anonymous, and will receive the $36,000 reward, Parker said.

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