BOISE -- Police announced a Garden City man who was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday is also responsible for a series of prowling reports that occurred south of the Boise State campus last year.
Andy Demosthenes Gallegos, 27, pleaded guilty in June to rape and attempted rape. Gallegos was a student at Boise State when he attacked the women in August and September of 2010.
He admitted breaking into the first woman's house in the early morning hours. The victim told police she woke up to find a strange man in her bed. When she fought back, Gallegos savagely beat her, leaving her bloodied and bruised. After Gallegos left, the woman was able to run to a nearby convenience store for help.
Several weeks later, Gallegos crept into the home of another North End woman while she was asleep and had sex with her. The woman said she initially mistook Gallegos for her boyfriend; when she realized he was a stranger and tried to turn on the light, he ran away.
It was years before DNA left behind at one of the crime scenes linked Gallegos to the attacks. In the interim, police say, he was racking up more victims in a series of break-ins and attempted break-ins that terrified residents of a neighborhood south of the Boise State campus.
"We're confident the man sent to prison for 20 years yesterday for rape is also the man who was prowling the neighborhood south of the BSU campus last fall," Chief Bill Bones said in a statement Wednesday. "It was a tremendous effort to identify him, but we believe, thanks [to] the sentence handed down by Judge Hippler, this man will not be threatening neighborhoods for a very long time."
The first report of a prowler in the neighborhood came in May of 2014, and the case was immediately handed over to the the lead detective in the Boise Police Special Victims Unit, although police had not yet discovered the link to the rape cases.
The prowler did not strike again until September 2014, after classes had resumed for the fall semester. Two women reported a man had entered their homes while they were sleeping, touched them as they lay in bed and stole their underwear.
Police increased patrols in the area and urged residents in the area to be cautious and lock their doors at night.
Later that month, officers responding to a report of a suspicious person near South Manitou Avenue and West Hale Street found Gallegos sitting in a car wearing women's clothing.
Police say that was when Gallegos was first identified as a person of interest in the prowler investigation, although he was not arrested.
Four more prowling incidents were reported in early October, although Gallegos did not enter any homes, police say. On Oct. 9, police released a sketch of the prowling suspect with help from a witness.
A resulting citizen tip helped detectives identify Gallegos as connected to both the prowling incidents and the rapes in Boise's North End. He was arrested at his home in Garden City Jan. 7 and charged with multiple counts of rape and burglary.
"These cases understandably caused a lot of concern among residents. We appreciate the people of the North End and the BSU campus community who shared information with officers which proved critical in identifying the man responsible," Bones said in a statement. "The detectives in this case were very aware of the danger this man posed to the community and the fear he left in his victims. An incredibly skilled team of detectives came together to connect and collect leads and evidence in a case that turned out to be long and complex. The cooperation of the community and the tenacity of the detectives is what led to the arrest and getting this predator off the streets.
One rape charge was later dropped after prosecutors determined the account was consensual, and the burglary charges were dropped as part of a plea deal. Gallegos has not been charged in connection with the prowling incidents, although underwear stolen from the victims' homes were found in his house. The prowler's victims also identified Gallegos as the man who broke into their houses.
Gallegos will be eligible for parole after serving 20 years of his 30-year sentence.