Eastside Rapist Caught in the Street, Cops Say

Eastside Rapist Caught in the Street, Cops Say
Sterling Davis Photo/L.A. Weekly Flickr pool

UPDATE at 2:55 p.m., Thursday, May 28: The suspect has been formally charged. See more at the bottom. First posted at 2:25 p.m., Wednesday, May 27.

Police today said they nabbed a man who broke into a woman's home, undressed down to his underwear and raped her as she awoke.

The Eastside rapist was armed with a machete and breached the 30-year-old victim's living room window before attacking at 12:30 a.m. May 15 in the 1800 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, which is in the heart of Boyle Heights, police said.

The suspect, 21-year-old Manuel Larios Munoz, was arrested at 4:20 p.m. Friday by cops from the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollenbeck Division, according to L.A. Sheriff's Department inmate information.

Police planned a news conference this afternoon to announce Munoz's arrest and to distribute photographs to "encourage other possible victims to come forward and identify the suspect for additional assaults/crimes," according to an LAPD statement.

Authorities said officers on a foot beat under the Hollenbeck Community Partners Program made the arrest after someone pointed the man out to them on a Boyle Heights street.

Eastside Rapist Caught in the Street, Cops Say
Munoz via LAPD

The arrest reminds us a little of the capture of serial murderer Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker, on an unincorporated East Los Angeles street in 1985.

A citizen told KCAL9 News he was the one who spotted Munoz on the street. He said the 21-year-old was acting suspicious and looking over his shoulder.

The LAPD called the suspect a "hot prowl" rapist. Hot prowl is a term the department uses to describe crimes in progress, such as when a burglary suspect is still at a location when cops swoop in.

Here's how LAPD described what the rapist allegedly did the the morning of May 15:

While the victim was sleeping in her bedroom, an unknown male Hispanic forced her living room window open and climbed into her residence. The suspect removed most of his clothing with the exception of his underwear and then entered the victim’s bedroom. The victim woke up when she heard a noise in her room and she observed the suspect standing at the foot of her bed. The suspect then sexually assaulted her. The suspect dressed himself before he left the victim’s residence. 

Detectives said the man told the woman, in Spanish, "I'm just here for sex."

The attacker allegedly jumped on the victim as she resisted by screaming and struggling.

Munoz, arrested on suspicion of rape, was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. No court dates had been scheduled.

UPDATE at 2:55 p.m., Thursday, May 28: Munoz was formally charged with suspicion of "forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by foreign object and first-degree residential burglary," according to a statement from the District Attorney's Office.

According to the DA's statement:

The 30-year-old woman woke up and Munoz got on top of her and allegedly sexually assaulted her. He then dressed himself, grabbed the machete from the floor and left the house ...  

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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