Crime - Sacto 911

New information emerges about East Area Rapist

The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office has released photos and sketches of items believed to be stolen by the East Area Rapist when he terrorized Northern California over a 10-year violent crime spree.

Law enforcers believe the man took a gold Lycoming College class ring with a blue stone, an antique gold ring with a ruby stone, a Foothill High class ring with a blue stone, a Modesto Junior College class ring and a set of china from victims in Carmichael, Rancho Cordova, Sacramento and Concord in the late 1970s.

The East Area Rapist is believed to have killed at least 12 people, committed at least 45 rapes and burglarized hundreds of homes. Known also as the Original Night Stalker, the Diamond Knot Killer and Golden State Killer, he allegedly raped 37 people in the Sacramento area and Central Valley and killed two between 1976 and 1978 before moving onto the Bay Area and Southern California.

Authorities have collected DNA samples from several crime scenes and received thousands of tips, Gina Swankie of the FBI’s Sacramento office said. The East Area Rapist is believed to be a white man currently between 60 and 75 years old about 5 feet 10 inches tall with an athletic build.

“You have … victims of the rapes and families whose loved ones were victims of the homicides who deserve to know where that person is and have justice,” Swankie said.

Law enforcement agents working on the case have known about each of the items since the initial attacks, Sgt. Paul Belli of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said, but spent years mining pawn shops and secondhand stores in hopes of identifying the East Area Rapist. The rings and china mark the last of releasable evidence related to the assaults, Belli said.

The last attack connected with the rapist occurred in 1986, though Belli noted he could have struck again under different methods of operation.

“It’s a bit of a Hail Mary, having somebody actually recognize those items,” Belli said. “There’s a fairly low likelihood that would occur, but it’s certainly something that’s worth a shot.”

The FBI launched a widespread media campaign to catch East Area Rapist last year on the 40th anniversary of his first known attack, including victim testimonies, composite sketches and a voice recording of the suspect. Awards of up to $50,000 remain available for information leading to his arrest.

People with information about the assaults may call 1-800-CALL-FBI or go to Callers and writers can remain anonymous.

Benjy Egel: 916-321-1052, @BenjyEgel

Related stories from Sacramento Bee