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Arrest made in rape of Moses Lake college student

UPDATED: Tue., July 26, 2011, 12:21 p.m.

MOSES LAKE, Wash. — Moses Lake police have arrested a man in connection with the abduction and rape of a 19-year-old student at a Moses Lake community college.

Police on Tuesday morning arrested 33-year-old Jerald W. Thomas, a transient, at a bus stop in Moses Lake. He was arrested without incident, and is being held in the Grant County Jail.

Sheriff Tom Jones credited tips from the public with helping apprehend the suspect.

The Grant County sheriff said the victim was abducted from a campus parking lot by a man with a knife who forced her into her car, drove her to a recreation area and raped her.

Jones said the victim’s vehicle got stuck at the Moses Lake Sand Dunes and the attacker fled. Jones said the victim caught a ride to a nearby Washington State Patrol office and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The abduction happened about 10 a.m. Monday in a parking lot at Big Bend Community College.

The victim told sheriff’s detectives the attacker initially drove her to a bank, where he used her debit card to try and withdraw money from an ATM.

The college said the sheriff’s office is increasing campus patrols and the school is beefing up parking lot security.

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