Arizona suspect is held

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeSexual AssaultAssaultColleges and UniversitiesMaricopa County

Police in Arizona said they have linked at least one burglary sexual assault there to a man arrested in Newport Beach earlier this year and think there could be more victims, authorities said.

Kevin Lee Francois, 44, is being held in Orange County Jail without bail and awaiting extradition to Maricopa County, Ariz.

Police allege Francois burglarized a Tempe, Ariz., apartment in 2003 and sexually assaulted one of the female residents. Starting in 1984, Francois made numerous trips to Tucson and Phoenix, where he has a history of burglary and voyeurism charges, according to a media release from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department.

He targeted college-aged women in residential areas surrounding colleges and sometimes stole their driver's licenses, credit cards or college ID cards, police said.

Francois would sometimes burglarize the home and then return later to assault the woman living there, authorities said.

The 2003 burglary and sexual assault was considered "a cold," or unsolved, case until this year.

On Jan. 6, a Newport Beach police officer patrolling the Balboa Peninsula saw a man tinkering with the side door of a house on 41st Street and approached him, said Sgt. Steve Burdette.

The man turned out to be Francois, Burdette said. After talking with the officer for a bit, Francois ran, stopped, then turned toward the officer, who sprayed him with pepper spray, Burdette said.

He was booked on suspicion of resisting arrest. As part of the booking process, police took a DNA sample of Francois. He posted bail shortly after his arrest. Unbeknownst to Francois, as his DNA was processed and entered into a database shared among police nationwide, officials in Tempe got a match, according to authorities.

Francois was re-arrested May 7 and will be extradited. Police there believe there may be more victims and are re-examining many unsolved sexual assault and burglary cases.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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