Dallas police questioned a man identified as a person of interest in nine sexual assaults reported across the South Dallas area since June.
Dallas Chief of Police David Brown told NBC 5 that Dallas and Arlington police officers took 29-year-old Alan Mason into custody at about 3 a.m. Friday at an apartment complex in Arlington, where the man lives.
Mason was questioned as a person of interest in the sexual assaults, but not been named as a suspect in the attacks. Maj. Jeff Cotner, with the Dallas police, said the man is being cooperative in the investigation.
He was taken into custody by police officers without resistance for an outstanding warrant for a probation violation for driving while intoxicated and an outstanding traffic ticket from McKinney and Mesquite, according to information provided by the Dallas Police Department.
Mason's arrest was specifically for those issues and not based on any sexual assault charges at this time, police said. Brown tweeted about Mason's arrest and asked for the public to have patience while the investigation continues.
@DPDChief we will keep you informed we won't rest till we have the right person but we won't rush and charge the wrong person
— Chief David O. Brown (@DPDChief) September 6, 2013
The attacker has been described as a black man, 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 185 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He has been reported as wearing shorts and a T-shirt as well as prescription glasses that are oval-shaped and have gold rims. Police said the attacker always covers his face.
Police said an anonymous tip was received stating that Mason had told the tipster that he needed to get out of town because of something he had done wrong. The tip also claimed that Mason wears oval-shaped glasses with gold rims. Information in the tip lead to an address in the Fair Park area where officers discovered a car said to be owned by Mason.
Officers located a 2001 silver Honda at the address provided by the anonymous tip and ran the license plate number, and found that a Dallas County warrant for probation violation was out on Mason.
Despite having a person of interest in custody, police said they will continue with increased patrols and surveillance of the targeted area.
Community Leaders, Citizens Gather at Dallas Church
Community members met with Dallas police to voice their concerns and ask questions about the person preying on the neighborhood Thursday at the True Lee Missionary Baptist Church.
Bennie Jeffery stood outside the church with a sign that read "South Dallas Beware of Rapist/ First Arrested and The Last to be Notified."
Jeffery said he was upset that residents weren't made aware of the attacks until earlier this week even though the first rape happened in June.
"We get notified when there is a West Nile outbreak, we get notified when there was a measles outbreak, so it’s just appalling that the citizens weren’t notified earlier when this type of stuff was going on," he said.
Many residents asked the same question. They wanted to know why the public wasn’t notified after the first attacks on June 22 and June 30.
"We got women that are devastated, and they’re not ready to talk to us, so we have to be on their time frame," Deputy Chief Mike Coleman told the crowd.
Some resident were frustrated that they weren't hearing specific plans as to what police are doing to catch the attacker.
"I want to hear what you guys have been working on as a plan for us so we can work together," one man said.
Police told residents they have increased patrols and are using gang unit, mounted and even undercover officers in the area to try and catch the rapist. But police reiterated that they can’t do it alone.
"We can’t do this by ourselves," Deputy Chief Sherrill Scott said. "Y'all live out in this neighborhood; we don’t. We want to help."
The answers still don't satisfy Shawnta Johnson. The rapist attacked her sister on Sept. 1. She feels that if police sent out a warning in June, her sister's rape could have been prevented.
"We could have had some kind of alert that there is a rapist around," she said. "Maybe people wouldn’t be walking late."
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information the arrest and indictment. If you have information you can remain anonymous just call Crime Stoppers at 214-373-TIPS (8477).
In addition to a $5,000 reward from Crime Stoppers, Oak Farms has also pledged $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the attacker.