A man charged with raping a stranded driver on the side of I-59 is also suspected of robbing a woman in Mississippi, stealing a church van and robbing someone else in Georgia, Jefferson County investigators say.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office identified the suspect as 21-year-old Malachi Josephus Moody of Jackson, Miss.
Officials believe Moody robbed a woman in Byram, Miss. on April 22 and stole a white church van from a church in Jackson, Miss., according to a release from Chief Deputy Randy Christian.
Moody then drove the stolen church van through Alabama, where he allegedly attacked a 34-year-old woman who was stranded on I-59 near mile marker 117 on April 23.
Authorities say Moody offered to take the stranded driver to a store to get coolant for her vehicle. He drove her to three stores and then back to her car. But once they got back to her vehicle, officials say he "slapped her, sexually assaulted her and took her money and cell phone."
Christian said Moody then continued to drive through Metro Atlanta and robbed another victim before leading Cobb County police officers on a chase. Cobb County police eventually caught him and took him into custody.
On April 30, Jefferon County detectives got information from the Mississippi and Georgia cases that linked Moody to all three instances and "painted a picture of a three state crime spree," Christian said.
Jefferson County detectives identified Moody as the suspect in the I-59 assault. They obtained warrants for first degree rape and first degree sodomy against Moody on May 1.
Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale says the Regional Organized Crime Information Center helped them catch this suspect.
"We've all heard you can outrun the police, but you can't outrun the radio. I want you to know being a part of ROCIC and the ability to share information throughout the southeast, it allows our detectives to stay on the task, right here, work it hard in Jefferson County. But it allows us to spread out throughout the whole country, if you will, and share what information we had," Sheriff Hale said.
Moody remains in jail in Cobb County, Georgia and will be extradited to Alabama after he's released.
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