Electrician, married father arrested on suspicion of rape, weapons violations

Police: Suspects car matched victim's description

SAN DIEGO - A 35-year-old married South Bay electrician and father was in custody Thursday on suspicion of pulling a gun on a woman at a City Heights bus stop last week, then abducting and raping her.

San Diego police pulled over Valentino Manofo Tafilele of National City about 4:45 a.m. Thursday as he drove his late-model Jeep Cherokee in the 3500 block of University Avenue, a block east of the scene of the kidnapping, SDPD sex-crimes Lt. Chuck Kaye said.

Officers made the stop after noticing that the vehicle was generally similar to the one driven by the assailant and had a broken passenger's-side taillight, as described by the victim. They arrested him for allegedly being in possession of a loaded gun and a set of brass knuckles and took him to police headquarters for questioning, Kaye said.

The armed abduction occurred about 4:30 a.m. July 3. The tall and heavyset kidnapper forced the 35-year-old victim into a light-colored SUV parked in a nearby alley, then drove her to a secluded spot and raped her before setting her free, police said.

Detectives identified Tafilele, who is married and has children, as the alleged perpetrator due to close matches with the woman's descriptions of the assailant, his vehicle and items inside it, according to Kaye. DNA comparisons were pending, the lieutenant said.

The suspect was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, forcible rape and weapons violations. He was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Friday afternoon.

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