For nearly five years the rapist with an odor so foul police nicknamed him Stinky has terrorized single women in Berkeley. Police say he committed 60 reported rapes and that he may be responsible for twice that number.
Women from 13 to 87 who live alone or with children in ground-floor homes have been victimized by a man who they say smells of petroleum or some other strong odor.
Over the years Berkeley residents have responded to his threat with block clubs, citizen patrols, community-police meetings and, most recently, with a police task force organized to find Stinky the rapist.
In the early hours of Saturday, former TV reporter Carolyn Craven, who had reported on Stinky the rapist on three occasions became his latest victim.
In a move praised by Berkeley police, Craven has gone public, describing her rape and terror before TV cameras and for newspapers here.
Craven says that, by her actions, she hopes other rape victims who previously shied away will tell their stories to police, yielding clues that will lead to his capture.
Because the raptist threatens to come back and kill his victims if they report to police, authorities suspect many have not come forward.
Craven says she also went public because rape victims have nothing to be ashamed of and because she wants to warn other women who may be approached by the raptist that they should not resist him.
He operates with a knife at his victim's throat, and over the months he has grown more violent.
Craven was a long time reporter for KQED Newsroom, the public boardcasting station's news show in San Francisco. Recently unemployed, Craven said she was living in a small, "rinky-dink" house with three locks on the doors with her son, Gabriel, 6.
Craven says she is certain the rapist never knew she had done stories about him. Rather, she says she believes she was just another in a long string of victims.
While she slept, the rapist had bent back the aluminum hinge on a locked window and climbed into her son's bedroom.
She says she awoke in the early hours Saturday when a figure leaped at her in the dark, shoving a gloved hand over her eyes and then blindfolding her.
Craven said the man assaulted her intermittently for about two hours and ordered her to "act as if you enjoy it."
She recalled thinking: "If I survive this I had better remember every detail. If he's already decided to kill us there's nothing I can do."
Although she never saw his face, Craven said she noted his dark complexion before he blindfolded her. And she said she would recognize his voice if she heard it again.
"I really thought I would go mad . . . I couldn't stand this amount of sustained terror," she said.
Holding a sharp carpenter's knife to her throat while her son screamed and cried outside her door, the rapist barked orders at her. At one point, he slice the skin of her hand. She later had five stitches.
Craven decided not to scream for help because she didn't want him to threaten Gabriel again."
With her fingers and toes, she detected what she could about the rapist, learning for example about his work shoes, his nappy, stubble beard and his haircut.
As he left he grabbed a knife from Craven's kitchen. Craven, through tears, said police told her it will probably be used on his next victim.
Because the rapist had clipped her telephone wires, Craven bundled her son in a blanket and fled screaming to a neighbor's house after he left.
She says now that the knowledge she had gained from writing stories about rape helped her not at all.
"I cannot believe how he could so totally disrupt my life," she said.
Most of all, "the terror of it, the humiliation, the powerlessness," upset the strong-willed Craven. "I couldn't protect myself or my son."