Suspect in armed serial rapes ID'd as 35-year-old Long Beach security guard

EMBED </>More Videos

Law enforcement officials speak at a press conference announcing the arrest of a Los Angeles serial-rape suspect and identifying his vehicles and location of alleged crimes.

A suspect has been arrested after at least 14 female sex workers were raped at gunpoint in the Los Angeles area since 2014, police said.

Los Angeles Police Department officials identified the suspect as Ferdinand Flowers, 35, of Long Beach. No photo was immediately released.

Police say when they arrested Flowers he was in possession of a .40 caliber handgun.

They say he works as a licensed security guard. The gun was licensed to him and likely was used in his capacity as a guard, police said.

The suspect was caught when detectives set up surveillance near an industrial area in Carson where victims had been released in the past. They had noticed a pattern in the time and days that he would commit the crimes and release the victims and chose those times and location to set up and wait.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 12, the detectives saw a woman being pushed out of a white Honda Civic, similar to one described in past incidents. They approached her and she said she had been the victim of a crime.

They immediately detained the driver, Flowers.

He was later booked for robbery and attempted rape in connection with that incident and bail was set at $1 million.

Later investigation, including search warrants of his home and two vehicles matching the description of those used in prior incidents led police to link Flowers to the other incidents. The second used in prior incidents was described as a black 2001 Dodge Ram pickup.

They said he has one prior arrest, for soliciting a prostitute in January 2010.

The District Attorney's Office on Tuesday filed charges of robbery, attempted rape and kidnapping.

EMBED More News Videos

A suspect has been arrested after at least a dozen female sex workers were raped at gunpoint in the L.A. area since 2014, law enforcement said.

Authorities said the suspect has been linked to 13 incidents involving rape of 14 prostitutes in the Los Angeles area since 2014. In one incident, two victims were involved.

Four were reported in 2014, then none in 2015 or 2016 and then additional incidents were reported in 2017 starting in April and then the final one was this month when he was caught.

Because of the two-year gap in the timeline of reported incidents, police are looking to see if they are more victims who may not have come forward yet.

Police said the man typically solicits women for sex in the western regions of Los Angeles in the Alameda corridor.

The corridor is a 20-mile-long rail cargo expressway linking the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to the rail network near downtown Los Angeles, according to the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority.

Authorities said the suspect lured his victims into his vehicle by pretending to be a customer. When the victims are in his car, the suspect then pulls out a gun, takes them to a remote area in South Los Angeles, sexually assaults them and releases them.

At a news conference in December, police said the suspect had threatened to hurt the women and in at least one case beat a victim who fought back. The victims range from 15 to 46 years old.

Detectives linked the cases in May after DNA from a sexual assault investigation matched a DNA that was on file from a sheriff's department case in December 2014. As they began investigating, they soon found a unique pattern and began linking other cases.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
rapearrestsexual assaultsex crimeLos AngelesLos Angeles County
(Copyright ©2018 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)