DEARBORN, Mich. (WJBK) - The Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad said at a news conference Monday morning that a suspected serial rapist may be linked to dozens of cases across the region.
"This particular nightmare that has plagued our community and our region for a long time is over," Haddad said.
Haddad said authorities are looking at 34 cases, in particular, across the region, and that three of those rape cases are in Dearborn.
"I want to tell our citizens and our community alike that there's no more power he holds over the people and I can assure you that he'll be in jail for a long time," he said.
The suspect was arrested last week by Dearborn police.
Haddad said a break in the years-long case came when somebody in Livonia had surveillance video of a man breaking into a home.
"The video was the break that we needed in this case so we're forever grateful to the homeowner who took the time to review and report to Livonia, and Livonia to pass it along," said Lt. Ron Beggs of Dearborn police. "He was not on our radar."
That was at the end of August, then last week, Crime Stoppers received an anonymous call revealing the man's name. Police arrested him Thursday morning as he pulled in for work at a plumbing company in Farmington Hills. He admitted to multiple crimes and by late afternoon, the Michigan State Police Crime Lab had matched him to seven sexual assaults.
"The detectives were very emotionally invested in the case, and when they got that confirmation, because they spent so much time investigating, there was not a dry eye in the room," Beggs said.
"Until you take people like this off the street they're just going to keep committing their crimes," said Lt. Michael Shaw of Michigan State Police.
So far, Smith has been charged with sexual assaults in Garden City and Redford. He will also face additional charges in Allen Park, Darborn and Inkster, Southgate and Taylor. There may be other cities involved as well.
Dearborn Mayor John O'Reilly, Jr. says crossing borders and working together is in everybody's best interest.
"We're all in this together -- crime doesn't care about boundaries," he said.
You can watch a replay of the chief's remarks on our YouTube page or on our Facebook page.