Clayton County Police were hunting for a few years for a serial rapist in Georgia and found him right under their noses—when he tried to become a police officer himself in their own department, officers said Wednesday, Aug. 28.

Kenneth Thomas Bowen III, 24, only came to their attention when he joined the Clayton County Police Department’s academy in June 2018 as a police recruit. He was fired just a few months later for repeated lateness and constant lying about where he had been and who he had been with.

Officers later realized Bowen had been named a “suspicious” person in a string of rapes that began in 2015.

Detectives soon noticed the “striking resemblance” between Bowen’s photo and police sketches, police said at a Wednesday press conference.

After also linking Bowen’s tattoos to the suspect’s description, officers obtained a search warrant for his DNA, which linked him to the eight open cases, including seven rapes and one sexual battery, police said.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts said, “Had he not attempted to join ranks in the Clayton County Police Department, it is questionable as to when we would have apprehended him.”

Bowen was arrested Tuesday, Aug. 27, and charged with seven counts of rape and one count of sexual battery. Officials said the suspected rapist appeared to target black women between the ages of 19 and 39. The attacks happened within a two-mile radius of where Bowen lived in Jonesboro. None occurred during his time at the academy.

Clayton County police department shared a post on Facebook last week alongside a video of Bowen under arrest, wrote, “WE GOT HIM! Citizens of Clayton County can rest a little bit easier knowing that the serial rapist has been CAPTURED! Great investigative skill set and excellent teamwork has brought his terror to an end!”

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