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Alleged UA-area rapist apprehended

Photo Courtesy of the Arizona Daily Star
By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 15, 2004
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A 20-year-old man was arrested Thursday in connection with several burglaries and sexual assaults in the university area.

Israel Andrew Rivera was arrested Thursday after running from a taxicab that he was riding in had been stopped by police. Police said they began following Rivera after they received an investigative lead. Rivera was captured after a short pursuit on foot.

He was charged with four counts of sexual assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, four counts of kidnapping, two counts of first-degree burglary and three counts of second-degree burglary.

He was also charged with a parole violation based on an Arizona Department of Corrections felony warrant. He is being held at Pima County Jail.

The victims in the incidents included a teenage girl, three women in their 20s and a 26-year-old man.

The arrest came after a warning police issued to the public two weeks ago about several burglaries and sexual assaults that had taken place in the area north of campus.

Rivera has been linked to five different cases, although police are expecting to link him to more as the investigation continues, said Sgt. Carlos Valdez, Tucson Police Department spokesman.

The first case occurred Oct. 4 on the 3400 block of North Fontana Avenue, the second on Oct. 13 in the 1200 block of East Weimer Circle, and the third on Oct. 20 on the 2700 block of East Sequoyah Street.

The two latest cases occurred Wednesday, one on the 2700 block of East Water Street and the other on the 2500 block of West Anklam Road.

"We were initially concentrating on the area close to campus, he was charged with four sexual assaults in the university area and one aggravated assault in the Anklam area." Valdez said.

Police are still investigating two incidents in late October. One on Oct. 27, involving an intrusion of the home of two females near East Speedway Boulevard and North Euclid Avenue, and another incident Oct. 31 near East Speedway Boulevard and North Campbell Avenue.

The sexual assaults were a crime of opportunity for Rivera, Valdez said.

"He didn't match the textbook rapist - he would randomly burglarize places and use the opportunity to commit assault," he said.

Police caught Rivera by tracing back property he had stolen from his victims.

"He began trying to dispose of the property he stole, and through investigative leads and interviews we discovered it was him," Valdez said.

Rivera has been previously involved in criminal activity, according to records. Rivera and another man were indicted by a grand jury on charges of stealing a car and burglarizing it in September 2003. He was convicted of third-degree burglary in June and sentenced to nine months in prison. He was released in September.

Valdez said students should still take precautions and not let their guard down.

"We don't know if the case is completely closed. We don't want students to get a false sense of security," he said. "If we arrest one, another one may come and take his place."

Valdez said students should continue to follow safety tips such as using the buddy system if walking at night, carrying Mace and calling SafeRide or the University of Arizona Police Department for an escort.

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