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Florida’s ‘Superthief’ Charged with Sexual Attacks from 1970s

Broward County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- A Florida convict known as the "Superthief" has been arrested and charged with two armed sexual assaults from the 1970s, and authorities are investigating whether he could be a serial rapist that has eluded authorities for decades.

John Arthur MacLean, 65, was arrested on Friday after being linked to multiple sexual batteries by DNA.

In April 2010, the Boca Raton Police Department Cold Case detectives began investigating unsolved crimes, including a number of unsolved sexual battery cases.  A case of two sisters who were sexually assaulted "piqued the interest of the detectives," police wrote in a news release.

DNA evidence lead them to MacLean, but authorities were informed that there was a four-year statute of limitations for armed sexual batteries that occurred before July 1, 1976, and the attack on the sisters had taken place in February of that year.  There is no statute of limitations on Florida rapes after that date.

But determined investigators began to discover that there were several more possible crimes that had striking similarities.

In the attack on the sisters, the suspect entered a home where the 14-year-old and 18-year-old siblings were living.  He was armed with a revolver and brought a form of lubricant with him, police said.  He threatened the girls, told them not to scream and sexually assaulted them.  One of the girls was wearing a robe at the time of the attack and police used it collect DNA evidence.  An analysis of the DNA matched it to MacLean, according to authorities

Authorities found two similar cases, one from October 1976 and one from February 1977, that were very similar.  They both involved a suspect entering a house through a kitchen, intimidating the victim with a weapon, using a form of lubricant on the women and sexually assaulting them.

DNA evidence connected MacLean to both cases this year, authorities said.  Both victims met with detectives to confirm the details of the attacks and MacLean was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of armed sexual battery.  He is now a person of interest in a series of rapes from the 1970s.

"Throughout the 1970s, there was a common modus operandi in numerous sexual battery cases in the tri-county area," police said.  "It was suspected there was a serial rapist committing these crimes, which were being investigated by several different law enforcement agencies.  MacLean has become a person of interest in these cases."

Even though the first case with the two sisters was past the statute of limitations, authorities could still use it as evidence in a trial, according to Florida's Williams Rule.

MacLean wrote a book called Secrets of a Superthief while he was serving time for a 1979 burglary conviction.  After his release, he moved to Arizona and was arrested for armed burglary and sexual exploitation of a minor, in addition to other crimes.

Police did not know if MacLean had retained an attorney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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