Local News

Victim Spots Rape Suspect at Festival

Posted May 26, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Last Tuesday, a Durham woman reported to police that she had been raped while walking to a local fast food restaurant. Saturday, she told officers she had just seen her attacker among the 16,000 people on hand for the annual Bimbe Festival.

The woman, who remains unidentified, led officers to Bryan R. Phelps, 36. Phelps, of no known address, was charged with first-degree rape, kidnapping, sexual offense and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

Prior to arresting Phelps, officers determined that he did fit the rapist's description on file.

Bail was set at $200,000. Phelps had been working at Durham's Labor World.

The rape had occurred in the area of the old Durham Athletic Park, site of the festival. Det. H.W. Meredith was quoted inThe News & Observeras saying that the proximity of the park to the rape scene probably increased the victim's chances of seeing her attacker.

She had told police she didn't know her assailant. She said he came up behind her, took her to a secluded area, raped her and took $3.