CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13/AP) – Law enforcement officials have arrested a former police officer living in Citrus Heights on suspicion of being the infamous East Area Rapist.
Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail early Wednesday morning on suspicion of two counts of murder in Ventura County, according to jail records.
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones says law enforcement began surveillance of DeAngelo a few days ago outside his home at 8316 Canyon Oak Drive. They also found some discarded DNA from DeAngelo, which led them to file murder charges for the 1978 murder of Brian and Katie Maggiore, Sacramento County District Attorney Ann Marie Schubert announced Wednesday.
DeAngelo was taken into custody without incident Wednesday as he left his Sacramento-area home.
He has also allegedly been linked to the March 1980 murders of Lyman & Charlene Smith in their Ventura County home.
The East Area Rapist has been tied to 12 homicides, at least 51 rapes, and dozens of burglaries across the state in the 1970s and 1980s.
DeAngleo has been denied bail. He was being housed in the psychiatric area of the jail.
FBI agents were out at DeAngelo’s home Wednesday, gathering evidence.
At one time, DeAngelo had been a police officer in Auburn but according to the Auburn Journal, he was fired in 1979 after being accused of shoplifting dog repellant and a hammer from the Pay N’ Save drug store off Greenback Lane in Citrus Heights. The move came after he didn’t answer any of the city’s investigations or request a hearing, the Auburn Journal reported.
Auburn City Manager Jack Sausser told the newspaper, “There was justifiable grounds to remove him from the public sector.”
He was also a police officer in Exeter, in Southern California, from 1973 to 1976.
Some neighbors say DeAngleo was quiet and some say he raised three children as a single parent. Other say DeAngelo was volatile, lashing out at neighbors over small infractions like getting his car dirty when they were moving their lawn.
Neighbor Kevin Tapia, 36, said when he was a teenager, DeAngelo falsely accused him of throwing things over their shared fence, prompting a heated exchange between DeAngelo and Tapia’s father. He said DeAngelo could often be heard cursing in frustration in his backyard.
“No one thinks they live next door to a serial killer,” Tapia said. “But at the same time, I’m just like, he was a weird guy. He kept to himself. When you start to think about it you’re like, I could see him doing something like that, but I would never suspect it.”
He wasn’t on authorities’ radar either before last week, Schubert said.
“I’m still trying to process everything I’m learning today and wrapping my head around it how it affected to so many people and how violent it was…it makes me think about how better to protect my family,” said neighbor Beth Walsh.
DeAngelo, a military veteran, and his wife bought the home on April 11, 1980, according to the Sacramento County Assessor’s Office.
He graduated from Sac State with a bachelor’s degree.
None of the nearby residents we spoke with remember him mentioning he was a police officer or had seen him wearing a law enforcement uniform.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)