Norman Serial Rapist Caught

Thursday, February 16th 2012, 12:00 am
By: Dana Hertneky

A serial rapist who investigators say stalked and preyed on college students for decades is caught.

Police said Robert Bruce confessed to 14 rapes or near rapes in Norman since 1983.

His crime spree started at OU and spread across multiple states.

2/15/2012 Related Story: DNA Links Colorado Inmate To Oklahoma Assaults

According to police, Bruce would typically pick out his victims at Campus Corner the mall and follow them home. He then came back to their house and scouted out the location. Finally, he would use chloroform or handcuffs to subdue the women then rape them.

It's been several years since someone broke into his neighbor's house and raped the young college student inside, but Gary Carpenter remembers it vividly.

"They cut a circle in the glass of the window and opened the window up," said Carpenter. "He knew what he was doing. I was a truck driver, gone quite a bit. I was concerned about my wife, something like that happening to her,"

Police have now linked that rape and seven others in Norman to Bruce. That's in addition to six burglaries, and similar crimes in college towns in New Mexico and Texas.

Investigators were able to make the connection after police arrested Bruce for a misdemeanor peeping tom charge in Colorado and investigators ran his DNA through a national database.

"Our hit came from a 1987 case," said Captain Michael Praizner of the Norman Police Department. "Obviously we had to dig that out of moth balls and it became clear that his could be a person we were looking for in some other cases as well."

Investigators went to Colorado where they say Bruce confessed to the crimes, finally providing answers to all those he terrorized over the years.

"He was picking people randomly, as he termed it he would troll," said Capt. Praizner.

Bruce was a student at OU for a short time. He also lived in Norman for a while. Police said he moved away but would come back to commit the crimes.

Bruce is facing 20 separate counts in Oklahoma and will likely be charged Thursday.

Bruce has already been sentenced to 64 years in Colorado for attempting to blow up a police officer's house.