After an accused Nashville rapist fled his pregnant victim’s apartment last week, he stole her car — and it was the stolen car that ultimately got him caught, according to police.
The suspected rapist had sneaked into the 30-year-old victim’s apartment just after 4 p.m. on Sept. 5, as the woman made a couple of trips to and from her car to carry in groceries, police said. As the woman lay down in her bedroom, the suspected rapist appeared. Armed with a knife from her kitchen, he raped her and stole from her purse, police said.
But the woman fought back — hitting him with a bottle and ultimately escaping the apartment by jumping out her third-floor window, police said.
Nashville residents who heard about the incident (and about the stolen 2011 Toyota Camry) spotted the vehicle in their apartment complex parking lot on Friday, authorities said. Police had released surveillance footage of the vehicle in hopes of generating leads.
The suspicious residents called police to report the car.
From there, detectives tied the car to a 17-year-old suspect who lived in the apartment complex through forensic analysis of the vehicle, police said.
The teen was arrested and charged with aggravated rape, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery on Tuesday, according to sex crimes detectives. The arrest was made after an interview with the teen, which detectives initiated while they carried out a search warrant for his DNA.
Tuesday was also the teen’s 17th birthday, police said.
Authorities said a person who matched the suspected teen’s description also made a handful of convenience store purchases using the victim’s debit card, which had been stolen during the rape and burglary.
The pregnant woman was seriously injured during the incident and the fall, police said. She remains in a local hospital, where she is recovering.
McClatchy is not identifying the teenage suspect by name because police did not say if he will face charges as an adult or as a juvenile.