Person of interest in Fair Park rapes not charged, case remains open

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by MATT GOODMAN and MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on September 6, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Updated Friday, Sep 6 at 10:34 PM

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DALLAS –– The person of interest arrested Friday morning in connection with the serial rapes in Fair Park is not charged with the sexual assaults and the case remains an open investigation.

The person of interest, Alan Mason, was arrested in Arlington at 3 a.m. for violating probation on a driving while intoxicated conviction. Mason, 29, fully cooperated with investigators overnight and was not charged with the rapes, said Maj. Jeff Cotner, head of the department's crimes against persons division.

Mason’s grandmother, Shirley Clerkley, told News 8, DPD has the wrong guy.

“If he’s a person of interest - just a person of interest - why are they flashing his picture all over television?" she asked.

Late Thursday night, Dallas police requested media outlets publish Mason's picture to help them find him. While he was jailed for violating probation, he has not been charged with the rapes. He remains a person of interest, however News 8 has chosen to remove his photo from the website and future broadcasts unless he is charged in the sexual assaults.

News 8 has obtained court documents that show, in addition to the person of interest, DPD got a search warrant for the phone records of another man -- a convicted felon who went to prison for numerous aggravated robberies and was arrested for deadly conduct in June.

Police said Mason drives a silver Honda, similar to what one of the victims said the rapist fled in. He also wears similar eyeglasses and fits a general description of the attacker: black, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-11, weighs near 200 pounds and is 25-to-30 years old.

But, according to Clerkley, she owns the car and Mason has not driven it in a year. She also pointed out that he does not need prescription glasses.

She believes the proof will be in the evidence.

“The DNA will tell the truth,” she said. “They will see he didn’t do it. What are they going to do when the DNA comes back and it’s not Alan?”

In the news conference, Cotner defended the department's decision to release his mug shot.

"We had nine victims. When we started this investigation a couple of days ago, we had seven victims," he said. "We felt it was very important to get the information out and get everyone's assistance in bringing this person to custody to stop these offenses."

In a tweet, Police Chief David Brown warned of "twists and turns" in the ongoing case.

"Let’s stay measured on the apprehension of the person of interest he is not charged this may take numerous twists and turns," said Chief David Brown in one tweet.

"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," he continued in another.

Police on Thursday said an anonymous tipster told them Mason said he did something bad and had to leave town. Cotner would not discuss any other qualities that makes Mason a person of interest.

"I'm not going to talk about Mr. Mason's interview, other than to say Mr. Mason fully cooperated with detectives," Cotner said. "Fully."

Nine women have been raped in eight locations in a three-mile pocket south of Fair Park since June 22. The most recent occurred on Sept. 1.

In all, police have received 52 tips from the public. The reward for an indictment in the case has ballooned to $15,000.

Officers in patrol cars, on bicycles, and mounted on horses are patrolling the southern Dallas neighborhood where the rapes have occurred, said Deputy Chief Mike Coleman, who's in charge of the department's southeast division.

Coleman looked to reassure residents that they are safe, however he urged all to be aware of their surroundings at all times.
 
"Danger is something we need to quantify," he said. "If you're not being alert, if you're not paying attention, you're going to be in danger. It's an open investigation, we're still actively working the area."

Police helicopters, a crime response team, uniformed metro squads, gang units, and undercover officers are all aiding in the search. Still, Cotner reiterated the need for the public to help find the attacker.

"We continue to need your help, the public's help, in getting this individual off the street," he said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 214.373.8477.

Email mgoodman@wfaa.com

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