PORTLAND, Ore. - Police arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with a rape and a robbery in the Overlook neighborhood earlier this month.
Police tracked Alex Francisco-Sebastion down using a stolen iPhone. Police said it was the second victim's iPhone that he wrangled away from her. They used the phone to track him to a home on North Kerby Avenue.
Francisco-Sebastion met with detectives voluntarily on Tuesday and was charged with first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy, strangulation, first-degree attempted kidnapping and second-degree robbery.
Francisco-Sebastion made his first court appearance Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty.
The On Your Side Investigators first found a connection between the two incidents last week, but police wouldn't comment on it other than to say they were "looking into both cases extensively" and couldn't talk about the ongoing investigation.
The first incident happened at around 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 4.
A 54-year-old woman told police she was walking her dogs near the Kaiser Permanente offices at N. Overlook St. and Kaiser Center Dr. when a man talked briefly with her before pulling her into the bushes and sexually assaulting her.
The second incident happened Friday around 9:30 p.m., when police were flagged down by somebody reporting that a woman had been robbed of her iPhone on the Failing Street Pedestrian Bridge.
The woman described the man who stole it, and told which direction he headed. Police searched the neighborhood, but couldn't find him.
Police said after they took the report, they shared the information with sex-crimes detectives later that night and that information led them to develop Francisco-Sebastion as a person of interest in both cases.
After spending the weekend investigating, police said, they served warrants at homes in the 4600 block of N. Commercial.
Francisco-Sebastion's cousin, who did not want to be identified, told KATU News that Francisco-Sebastion was living with him for about six months after his parents kicked him out of the house. He remembered seeing his cousin Friday and said only later did he learn that was the same night of the second alleged attack.
When asked if there was something unusual or whether Francisco-Sebastion was acting strange in some way, the cousin said, "Not really - looking scared to me, and I didn't really question it."
While he admits he cousin wasn't a saint, he doesn't believe Francisco-Sebastion attacked two women.
"I really doubt that happened," he said. "He's not that type of guy. I heard he stole simple stuff when he was younger. As far as going to the limit of where there's rape? That's over-exaggerating the event."
On Your Side Investigator Chelsea Kopta contributed to this story.