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OLATHE, Kan. (AP) -- A man charged with rapes in both Kansas and Missouri and wanted for questioning about the killing of a young woman from suburban Kansas City last summer has been arrested in Utah.
James C. Strader, 27, was arrested Monday night in Richfield, about 140 miles south of Salt Lake City. Authorities said he got fuel at a gas station in nearby Salina and drove off without paying.
"The officer stopped him and approached the vehicle, and Mr. Strader said to him, 'You might as well put the handcuffs on me now,"' said Lt. Charles Black of the Johnson County (Kansas) sheriff's department.
Strader appeared in a Sevier County courtroom Tuesday and waived extradition. Sevier County Attorney Don Brown expected Kansas authorities to arrive in a few days to transport him back.
Black said that when the officer checked he discovered Johnson County had issued a warrant charging Strader with rape and aggravated kidnapping.
Meanwhile, police in Leawood, Kan., have been wanting to talk to Strader about the fatal beating last June of Ali Kemp, 19, a student at Kansas State University. She was attacked in the pump room at a neighborhood swimming pool where she worked.
The homicide has been widely publicized, with an artist's depiction of a man reported to have been seen near the pool published in newspapers and shown on TV from time to time since the killing.
"The fact that he (Strader) resembles our artistic representation, plus the fact that he was in our community around June of 2002, that moved him to the top" among people investigators want to talk to, said Leawood Police Major Craig Hill. "Not that he's a suspect."
District Attorney Paul Morrison said police have looked at "many, many" people who resemble the artist's sketch.
The Johnson County warrant, filed last Friday, involved an attack on a Gardner woman who said she was a former girlfriend of Strader. And authorities in Benton County, Mo., have charged Strader with raping a 14-year-old girl on the same day.
The former girlfriend said Strader came to her home, raped her at knifepoint and forced her to ride with him to an area near the Lake of the Ozarks.
She said Strader drove to an abandoned mobile home and was trying to break in when the 14-year-old girl walked past. According to court documents, the girl said she was grabbed by a man with a knife in his hand, who threw her into the back seat of a car.
The girl said the man drove to an empty trailer, broke in and then raped both her and the woman who was with him in the car. Later the girl was released and she went to a friend's home to call for help.
According to the court documents, after Benton County authorities were contacted by Kansas investigators working on the Gardner woman's rape, the girl identified Strader from a photograph as the man who attacked her.
In addition to rape, he is charged in Missouri with armed criminal action, kidnapping and burglary. Bond there is set at $250,000, while the Kansas bond for him is $50,000.
Strader has also been described as a suspect in the kidnapping of a woman from Hutchinson, Kan., last Friday. That woman said she was sexually assaulted by a man who came to her door, saying he had car trouble and asking to use the phone. She said he pulled a knife once he got inside.
The woman said she was driven to Kansas City before escaping early Saturday morning.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)