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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Man arrested in assault

Thomas Clouse Staff writer

A man suspected of pouring a substance believed to contain his semen into women’s hair at Spokane-area shopping malls was arrested Wednesday.

Roderick Glenn Thomas, 31, was taken into custody by Spokane County sheriff’s detectives, who began investigating after a woman reported the latest incident Monday.

Detective Doug Marske started investigating the case Tuesday and learned that six women have reported strange substances being poured in their hair in encounters that date back to June 2004, sheriff’s spokesman Cpl. Dave Reagan said.

Wednesday afternoon, Marske and Detective Jim Dresback arrested Thomas at his home at 1604 E. North Crescent Ave. in Spokane, Reagan said. Thomas is charged with three counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation.

An official at the Spokane County Jail said Thomas declined media interviews.

“He made some admissions that lead us to believe that he’s our man,” Reagan said. “Then he said he wanted to go to jail and didn’t want to answer any more questions. We accommodated him.”

Marske got the case Tuesday after a woman who works at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the Spokane Valley Mall filed an assault report. She told Spokane Valley police Officer Ken Dodge on Monday that a man approached her in the store and asked where dictionaries were located.

The woman relayed the information and then resumed arranging books on a lower shelf. She was seated on the floor as she worked, Reagan said.

“She began to smell something like animal urine and noticed the back of her shirt was wet,” he said. “She went home to change and allowed the soiled shirt to dry. We were very fortunate that she hung the shirt to dry.”

When Marske began checking into the woman’s report, he talked with Spokane Police Department crime analyst Ryan Shaw, who said several other women have reported similar encounters at stores in the Spokane Valley and NorthTown malls, Reagan said.

In each case, the perpetrator was described as 5 feet 6 inches or 5 feet 8 inches. Each victim reported that the man poured liquid in her hair from behind and most believed the substance was semen.

Marske developed a line of photographs and several of the assault victims identified Thomas’ picture as their assailant, Reagan said.

“We suspect that there are more victims who haven’t come forward, who either believe this would never be solved or are too embarrassed or did not know what occurred,” Reagan said.

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