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Jailed suspect faces charges in a series of rapes

By AMY HERDY

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 22, 2001


TAMPA -- An unemployed man in jail since February is suspected in a series of rapes in Tampa and unincorporated Hillsborough County.

Michael Antonio McNeair, 22, of 1702 E Osborne Ave., was a suspect in two rapes when he was arrested Feb. 17 by Tampa police after a brief chase while driving a stolen car, officials said.

Since his arrest, police have charged him in those two rapes in unincorporated Hillsborough and in three more in Tampa.

According to records, one of the victims was a 29-year-old woman attacked Oct. 10, 1999, and another was a 23-year-old woman attacked Dec. 11, 2000. Both homes were near Sligh Avenue and 56th Street.

McNeair was initially held on charges related to the two Hillsborough County rapes, three counts of burglary, grand theft, resisting arrest and driving without a valid license.

He remains in jail on $436,600 bail and now faces a total of 18 charges, including aggravated battery and armed burglary.

His DNA has been matched in two of the rape cases, Lt. Rod Reder said, and investigators are awaiting tests in other rape cases.

"We're taking a hard look at other cases," Reder said. "We're not ready to say how many rapes we suspect him in."

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