Authorities said they collected a cigarette butt Mr. Thomas discarded last week as he left New Haven Superior Court, where he faces an unrelated burglary charge. DNA taken from the cigarette matched that from the attacks linked to the “East Coast rapist,” according to police.
“It was a week when the predator became the prey,” Mark Magaw, acting police chief of Prince George’s County, said Monday.
When Mr. Thomas was arrested Friday, investigators said he asked, “Why haven’t you picked me up sooner?”
Prosecutor David Strollo said Monday that Mr. Thomas described himself as having “a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” personality when it comes to women. Mr. Strollo said Mr. Thomas made incriminating statements to investigators about his involvement in other rapes.
Mr. Thomas‘ public defender, Joe Lopez, said he had attempted to waive his client’s appearance at the court hearing, which a judge denied. Mr. Lopez declined to comment afterward.
Mr. Thomas tried to hang himself Saturday in his cell, police said, but was returned to jail after a brief hospital stay.
According to the Hartford (Conn.) Courant newspaper, he lived with his girlfriend in a two-story New Haven house, where he often left his tractor-trailer parked out front. Investigators think he used to live in the Washington area. His mother still lives in Clarke County, Va.
According to the Courant, traffic citations indicate that Mr. Thomas lived in Clarke County, Woodbridge and Berryville, Va.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.