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61 Counts Filed Against 'Impostor' Rape Suspect

October 28, 1987|TRACY WOOD | Times Staff Writer

A man suspected of being the "Impostor Rapist," so-named because he sometimes impersonated an undercover police officer, was charged Tuesday with 61 counts of rape, assault and kidnaping during a series of 13 early morning attacks on female joggers and walkers.

The charges were filed against Wayne Taira, 28, who is in custody in Oregon awaiting trial for the alleged rape and attempted rape of two other victims.

Deputy Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Stephen D. Sitkoff said extradition procedures have been started against Taira, who also has used the name Terrance Wayne Westfall. Sitkoff said Taira also is suspected of commiting rapes in Newport Beach, Fullerton and San Jose.

Served Prison Sentence

Taira previously had served a prison sentence at the California Institution for Men at Chino for a forcible oral copulation conviction and currently is on parole, Sitkoff said.

The Los Angeles-area attacks began Dec. 22, 1986, and appeared to end April 30, according to the complaint filed against Taira, who lived in Gardena and Highland Park during that period.

Sitkoff said Los Angeles authorities sent a flyer describing the rapist to several other states and Canada after victims reported that the attacker's car bore Canadian license plates.

When Taira was arrested in Hillsboro, Ore., last month, an officer there remembered the flyer and contacted Los Angeles authorities.

Pulled Into Cars

During the series of Los Angeles-area attacks, Sitkoff said, the assailant lured the women close to his car, pulled them inside and then assaulted them. Sometimes he used a gun to force the women to accompany him. Other times, the prosecutor said, he would say he was an undercover police officer to convince the women to approach the car.

The car helped with the impersonation, Sitkoff said. He described it as containing both citizens band and police-channel scanner radios, with antennas on the trunk. The automobile looked like a typical undercover police car, the prosecutor said, "ugly, olive-drab green."

Sitkoff said Taira was born and grew up in Southern California, but in later years had lived in Edmonton and Vancouver, Canada, and in Seattle.

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