Within hours, cops ID then arrest a Strangler suspect

The search for the Kensington Strangler appears over.

Police arrested Antonio Rodriguez, 22, yesterday — less than an hour after identifying him to the media as a “person of interest” in three sexual assaults and murders — and subsequently called him a suspect. A tipster led authorities to Rodriguez on the 3300 block of Mutter Street in the same community he allegedly terrorized.

Rodriguez has not been charged with murder, but police say they have DNA from a state police database linking him to the three murder victims.

“Obviously, this a major break in the case that the DNA links this individual to three sexual assaults and murders,” said Homicide Capt. James Clark. “Obviously, more investigation needs to be done — and other things that I won’t get into, exactly.”

According to online court records, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to minor drug charges in October and was sentenced to probation before violating his probation that same month. His record does not include any violent incidents.

Since Nov. 3, Elaine Goldberg, Nicole Piacentini and Casey Mahoney have all been strangled and sexually assaulted in abandoned lots in a four-mile area, police said. All three were white women between the ages of 21 and 35 who had struggled with drug addiction. Several other sexual assaults have been reported in the area since then, but it is unclear whether Rodriguez is connected to them.

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