2 women unharmed after man threatened to shoot, rape them in Maplewood, North St. Paul

North St. Paul and Maplewood police are searching for a suspect who reportedly used a gun to force two women to drive their cars to another location, threatening to shoot and rape them in the adjacent suburbs. The man, who was described as a white male, 30 to 40 years old, wearing dark clothing and latex gloves, has not been apprehended. (Courtesy of the Maplewood Police Department)

Police searching for suspect

Police suspect the same man held two women at gunpoint in their cars Sunday night, one in Maplewood right after the other in North St. Paul, forcing them to drive around and threatening to rape them.

One woman fled, and the other was let go unharmed.

"In spite of the fact that incidents of this nature are very rare, the actions of the armed suspect are obviously dangerous, making his identification and arrest a top priority," Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell said in a statement.

The North St. Paul Police Department responded to a report of a female victim who ran away from a possible rapist at 7:47 p.m.  Feb. 23 in the area of Tenth Avenue and Third Street.

After a hockey game, a 24-year-old woman reportedly started her car in the parking lot of North High School Polar Arena, 2444 11th Ave.

According to police, a man, who she described as a white male, about 30 to 40 years old, 6 feet tall with a medium build and facial hair, entered the car on the passenger's side. He had a black handgun, wore dark clothing, a black cap and latex gloves.

The man told the victim that he wanted to have sex with her, ordering her to drive the vehicle to a parking lot west of North High. He forced her to turn the car off, grabbed her, and then she fled, screaming for help. The man drove away in her car.

The stolen vehicle is a 2007 gray Hyundai Sonata with a Minnesota license plate (557CTT).

About 15 minutes later, a 26-year-old woman in Maplewood reported an armed kidnapping involving a man who looked and acted similar to the man in the other incident in the adjacent suburb.

The Maplewood Police Department received the report at about 9:30 p.m. the same night. According to a police statement, a woman reportedly left a gym near White Bear Avenue and County Road D at about 8 p.m., got into her car, and then a man she didn't know sat down in the passenger seat.

The suspect, who was described as a white male, 30 to 40 years old, wearing a black ski mask, dark-colored pants and light-colored latex gloves, threatened to shoot the woman with a black handgun, if she tried to get away.
He then forced her to drive to different locations in Maplewood, while telling her he was going to rape her.

He didn't harm her and eventually asked to be dropped off near County Road C and White Bear Avenue. She braked at a stoplight, and he got out. 

The two departments are working together on the investigation.

Anyone with information can call Maplewood police at 651-767-0640 or 911. Anonymous tips can be submitted by texting the keyword "MAPLEWOOD" and the tip information to TIP411 (847411).

--Kaitlyn Roby


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