Suspect arrested in brutal sex assault near METRO bus stop

March 13, 2012 3:38:15 PM PDT
A suspect accused of targeting a woman at a METRO bus stop and raping her has been arrested.

No one answered the door at Roberto Ramirez's east Harris County apartment. That's because police say the 21-year-old accused rapist was hiding out at a home in Abilene with his girlfriend. Police there arrested him Tuesday afternoon on a Crime Stoppers tip.

Houston investigators used DNA to tie Ramirez to the February 22 rape of a 31-year-old woman near a METRO bus stop. Investigators say Ramirez first started harassing the victim near a bus stop on Wayside and Lawndale. They say he then followed the victim off the bus near the 5600 block of Old Spanish Trail and hit her with a beer bottle before raping her in a nearby field on Produce Row.

"For a pretty young guy, he's pretty dangerous and that's what our concern was from the get go, and to work as fast as we can to get him off the streets," said Pedro Moreno with the Houston Police Department.

Since the beginning of the year, four women have been attacked near METRO bus stops at different locations across Houston. In light of Tuesday's arrest, investigators still don't believe they're connected.

As those investigations continue, METRO is stepping up security in hopes of reassuring nervous passengers including more patrols using uniformed and plain clothes officers.

"In addition to that, we included or incorporated the city's help to help us to take down some of the overrun weeds and other debris that has allowed for some of these types of criminal activity to take place along our transit system," said METRO Police Chief Victor Rodriguez.

According to court documents, the victim's rape kit yielded a DNA profile that matched that of Ramirez in a database from an unsolved 2008 rape case. He's expected to be charged in that case as well.

Ramirez, 21, is charged with aggravated sexual assault of an adult.

He was released from prison in November 2011, out on parole for a robbery conviction. He also has prior convictions for drug possession, theft and criminal trespass. Authorities say Ramirez is a member of the gang '59 PIRU.'

Ramirez is currently being held in the Taylor County Jail. He's expected to be returned to Houston later Tuesday. Bond has been set at $50,000.

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