Indiana Daily Student

Man arrested in Sept. 5 rape connected to four near-campus break-ins

<p>Devin Grounds</p>

Devin Grounds

The man arrested Thursday in connection with a rape north of campus has been linked to a string of break-ins south of campus where police believe he attempted rape while wearing a mask.

Devin Grounds, 28, was arrested Sept. 15 on charges of rape, theft and burglary after a woman reported that a man broke into her North Walnut Street apartment on the morning of Sept. 5, tied her up and raped her.

Four other break-ins were reported on the south side of campus the same week. The Bloomington Police Department named Grounds a suspect in all cases Monday and added a charge of burglary in the case of a Sept. 8 break-in on East Melrose Avenue.

Grounds, of Solsberry, Indiana, has appeared in the Monroe County justice system before. In 2010, he was arrested on multiple charges of burglary on East Melrose Avenue.

In both 2016 cases, detectives used DNA evidence to identify Grounds as a suspect.

In the Sept. 8 East Melrose Avenue case, detectives interviewed a victim who described being awoken at around 5 a.m. by a 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-10 white man wearing pants or jeans and a shirt with buttons, according to the probable cause affidavit for Grounds’ arrest.

“Shut the fuck up, or I will kill you,” the man said, according to the affidavit. “You’re going to do what I say or I’ll kill you.”

The man then tied the woman’s hands behind her back and proceeded to rape her. He untied her before fleeing the apartment and possibly stealing the woman’s iPhone, according to the affidavit. The phone was never found.

The woman later completed a sexual assault evidence kit at the hospital, and detectives took a cup from the woman’s home that was believed to have been touched by the suspect during the assault. DNA recovered from the cup and sexual assault evidence kit helped the Indiana State Police lab identify a presumptive hit in their Combined DNA Index System that matched Grounds, according to the affidavit.

Detectives originally did not believe the Sept. 8 break-in and rape were connected to the string of four burglaries, according to the BPD release. However, Grounds’ DNA was also found in the apartment on East Melrose Avenue, where a 22-year-old woman reported waking up to see a masked man crouching next to her bed.

In the other three reported break-ins, occurring in the early morning hours of Sept. 5 and Sept. 8 on South Henderson Street, South Washington Street and East Second Street, all victims reported seeing a masked man who likely entered the homes through unlocked doors. Rape was attempted in two of the three break-ins.

BPD is continuing to investigate all of these reported break-ins as connected cases with Grounds, a 5-foot-7 white man, as a suspect.

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