ATLANTA — A convicted robber serving time in federal prison was indicted in five metro Atlanta rapes from the mid-1980s, and could be responsible for two dozen other attacks on women, police said Tuesday.
DNA evidence linked Daniel Wade, 62, to five cases from 1986 and 1987 that police dubbed “maintenance man” rapes because they happened in apartment buildings and the attacker said he needed to fix something in the unit, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said in a news release.
Atlanta police investigator Alton Calhoun said there’s no evidence indicating Wade worked in any of the buildings.
It was not immediately clear whether Wade had an attorney, or what his ties to the Atlanta area were.
In a July 1986 case, a victim told Atlanta police that a man knocked on her door saying he was with the building maintenance staff and needed to find a water leak inside her apartment. The man pretended to look for a leak and pulled a knife on the woman, saying he’d kill her unless she had sex with him, according to a police report.
Another victim told police she was in bed when her step-brother answered a knock at the door in January 1986. The step-brother told investigators the man said he was there to fix the lights and would pay him $2 to go to the laundry room to look for a man named Harry, according to a police report. When the victim’s step brother came back, the door was locked and he could hear her crying from inside the apartment, according to the report.
Authorities used DNA from those cases to connect Wade to the attacks, Calhoun said.
Other victims told police they were grabbed from behind or attacked while they were in bed. The victims ranged in age from juveniles to senior citizens, Calhoun said, adding the attacks happened at apartment complexes along the Buford Highway and Interstate 85 corridor.
Wade became the target of an investigation after a cold case unit began looking into a series of unsolved rapes in the metro Atlanta area, Calhoun said.
Officials took rape kits from the unsolved cases and resubmitted them to the state crime lab for analysis. Wade was identified in 2011 through the national Combined DNA Index System because he was already in federal custody.
Wade is being held in the Federal Medical Center in Lexington. His release date is in 2021, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Police were able to contact four of the five victims and traveled to Kentucky to interview Wade, who refused to comment.
Wade is likely to be extradited from Kentucky to face charges, Calhoun said.