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Asian Attacks Suspect Arrested

August 3, 2000

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Philippine authorities arrested the main suspect in a series of sexual assaults in the United States, a government official said Thursday.

Immigration chief Rufus Rodriguez said Mark Anthony Lewis, 33, of Chicago, was arrested by immigration agents at a seaside mall. Lewis’ passport had been canceled and he was to be deported Thursday evening, Rodriguez said.

Lewis denied any involvement in the attacks against Asian women and a Hispanic woman in the Chicago area that began in April.

``I did not flee the U.S.,″ Lewis said. ``As for these charges of me assaulting anyone, they are totally uncorroborated by anything.″

``I surrendered because I didn’t want anyone to get hurt and I wanted to prove my innocence,″ he added. ``If I was guilty, I should have kept hiding.″

He said he had family and friends in the Philippines and his visit had been planned earlier. Lewis arrived in Manila on July 21, two days after the latest attack.

Lewis is suspected of having attacked at least eight Asian women and one Hispanic woman beginning April 7. The attacker posed as a census taker, a police officer, an FBI agent and an immigration officer to get into the women’s homes.

Chicago police said victims identified him through photographs. Lewis’ car, they said, matches the description of a car used by a man in one of the attacks. Clothing and other items described by victims were found at Lewis’ last known address in Chicago, police said.

Rodriguez said Lewis claimed his wallet was stolen two years ago and used by the attacker.

Chicago police have issued an arrest warrant for Lewis. The FBI has obtained a federal fugitive warrant.

FBI agent Dennis Peers said the bureau was ``extremely pleased″ with the arrest.

``We have every belief and confidence that this is the individual we have sought,″ Peers said.

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