Suspect held in Mesa rape - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Suspect held in Mesa rape

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Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2005 10:16 am | Updated: 8:31 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Police on Wednesday arrested a transient in the rape of an 80-year-old Mesa woman. James Atkinson, 49, was apprehended at a McDonald’s restaurant in the 5100 block of South Rural Road in Tempe, police said.

He was taken to the Mesa Police Department for questioning, where detectives said he later confessed.

He was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, burglary and kidnapping.

Police said that early on Sept. 11, a man forced open a window of a home in the 4500 block of East Fairfield Street and sexually assaulted a woman.

Atkinson was briefly in custody on Monday on unrelated allegations, after a homeowner found him sleeping behind his shed near University Drive and Extension Road. Atkinson was fingerprinted, ticketed for trespassing and released.

On Tuesday morning, police linked Atkinson’s fingerprints to the rape scene.

Atkinson has not been tied to any other sexual assaults in Mesa, said police spokesman detective Tim Gaffney.

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