ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The man Albuquerque police said used a chemical-soaked rag to disable his victims before raping them is now linked to more sex crimes in Oklahoma, the fourth state to charge Robert Bruce.
Police in Oklahoma said Bruce, the man dubbed "Ether Man," is linked and confessed to eight rapes in that area, dating back to 1985.
The last crime he confessed to in that area was in 2006 when detectives said he broke into a home with intention to rape a woman who turned out not to be there.
Detectives said most of Bruce's victims were college students from the University of Oklahoma where he was enrolled in the early 1980s.
Albuquerque detectives allege Bruce is behind the assaults of several women near the University of New Mexico campus. He's been indicted for 10 and suspected in several more.
After hearing about the cases in Oklahoma, District Attorney Kari Brandenburg said she would not be surprised if the number of assaults in New Mexico grew.
"We do think that is a very likely possibility," Brandenburg said. "That's what we anticipate."
Brandenburg said part of Bruce's plea deal in a felony conviction in Colorado is that he will cooperate with active cases, in other states. He also said he would work with police on crimes he's committed that police may not have even considered linking to him.
Brandenburg said while it's hard to take the word of a convicted felon, the recent reports from Oklahoma suggest he may be living up to his promise.
"We knew we had a serial rapist, but we really didn't know if he had moved in from another area," Brandenburg said.
Norman, Okla., police said he did. They said he was only linked to one rape in that area, but when they were able to have a full-fledged interview with him, he confessed to seven more.
Detectives were not even considering him as a suspect in some of those.
Norman Police Capt. Mike Paizner said the crimes there happened over a span of several decades, and the way the crimes were committed was not always the same.
"One occasion it was a dog collar in connection with some handcuffs," Paizner said. "At least on more than one occasion there was chloroform involved or a substance like that."
Paizner said he also used a stun gun once.
Norman police said they were surprised when he gave up the information, but they figured he really has nothing to lose. His conviction in Colorado already led to a 64-year sentence.
Prosecutors in New Mexico are certain that number will go up.
"He'll be looking at a sentence that is close to 100 years in Albuquerque," Brandenburg said.
Last year Bruce was convicted of trying to kill a Pueblo, Colo., police officer to keep him from testifying in a Peeping Tom case because he knew a conviction would mean his DNA would be entered in a national database.
He was also convicted last year in a 2006 rape case in Pueblo. There's still no indication when he will be brought to New Mexico. He also faces rape charges in Austin, Texas.
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