A 42-year-old Philadelphia man who, police said, has masqueraded as a Navy commander, an Army officer, a priest and an archbishop to lure women into his company, has been arrested by D.C. police on attempted murder and rape charges listed in warrants issued in Fairfax County, D.C. police reported yesterday.
Police said Kenneth Howard Gunther, alias James W. Dears, was arrested at 1 a.m. Saturday by D.C. police officer Ronald Wing, who saw the man slumped over the steering wheel of a car in the 1100 block of Eighth St. NW.
After the man identified himself, Wing checked the computer and found out that he was wanted in Fairfax County. He was arrested on fugitive charges and an extradition hearing is scheduled Oct. 10.
According to a Fairfax County police spokesman, Gunther was sought in connection with an April 4 incident involving a 37-year-old Baltimore woman. The woman had driven a man to several military installations in the Northern Virginia area after he had told her he had business there, investigators said. Eventually, they said, the couple ended up in a secluded area in Lorton.
The man then produced a gun and threatened to kill her, the woman said. He fired a shot in this episode police were told, but the woman was not hit. The woman was then raped and sodomized, police reported. The man then drove off alone in the woman's car.
Gunther has been charged in warrants with rape attempted murder, abduction, auto theft and the use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in this case, investigators reported.
According to police, Gunther has served prison time after convictions in California.
His pattern, police said, included posing as a Navy commander. As such, they said, he would "hire" personal secretaries. The applicant they said, would come to an apartment that resembled an office for a job interview. There, she would be given a "civil service examination" and hired under a "GS" pay scale.
Other disguises used by the wanted man, investigators said, included the clerical garb of a priest or, in some cases, an archbishop.