Sex offender who cut off GPS device is found under mattress in Palmdale

A violent sex offender who cut off his court-ordered GPS monitoring device and then disappeared has been taken into custody in Palmdale, where he was found under a mattress, authorities said Wednesday.

Deputies who were checking a house off 40th Street East and East Avenue S 8 after a burglar alarm sounded found Joseph Serapiglia, 43, said L.A. County Sheriff's Sgt. David Sauer.


The alarm sounded at about 2:30 a.m., Sauer said, and when authorities arrived, they found a man apparently under the influence nearby and started questioning him.

The man "didn't make any sense" and couldn't explain what he was doing there, Sauer said, so after detaining the man, the deputies searched the house. There, they found Serapiglia under a mattress. He gave several wrong names before finally confessing to his true identity, he said.

Sauer said it was unclear whether Serapiglia was a suspect in a burglary of the house, or whether the house was occupied at the time of the alarm.

Calls about home burglar alarms going off are "just not a huge priority generally unless there's more information that would lead us to believe someone's there," Sauer said. "The fact they did a thorough search and figured out who everyone was a good job."

The first man deputies talked to was also arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, he said.

Earlier this week, Los Angeles police launched a media blitz alerting the public that Serapiglia was at large after he cut off his tracking device and vanished.

On July 30, 1991, Serapiglia was sentenced to 42 years in prison for attempted murder and rape. He was released to live in the city of San Fernando on April 16 of this year, after serving 23 years of his sentence.

The former Canoga Park resident was convicted of raping a neighbor and stabbing her six times after he lured her to Topanga Canyon. He then threw her down a 25-foot cliff, leaving her for dead, according to authorities.

Blood soaked, she managed to crawl back up the embankment and across the road, crying, "Somebody help me," authorities said.

At the time, Serapiglia, originally from Rhode Island, was a part-time stock clerk who lived in the same apartment complex as the 31-year-old victim -- a mother of two.

The woman was a friend of Serapiglia's father, who owned and also lived in the same Canoga Park apartment complex.

Another woman came to woman's rescue, helping to transport the victim -- who had a punctured lung and fractured skull among other injuries -- to a hospital, authorities said.

Serapiglia had called the victim after midnight, claiming that his father was missing in Topanga Canyon and that he needed her help because he was unfamiliar with the area, authorities said at the time. The woman told deputies that Serapiglia beat her inside his van and raped her after driving to the top of the canyon.

The woman who took the victim to the hospital said she saw her stagger out of the darkness, authorities said.


"Hey you guys, somebody please help me, I've been raped and stabbed," she said, her rescuer recalled. "She walked up to us, and as soon as she got close enough I could see that she was bloody from head to toe."

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