AUTHORITIES ARREST RAPE SUSPECT

January 26, 2002 12:00 am
Chester Gunter ().
Chester Gunter ().

A 42-year-old La Grande man was arrested Friday and charged with numerous crimes involving the alleged kidnapping and rape of a Starbucks employee Dec. 30 in Clackamas.

Chester Lawrence Gunter was arrested in La Grande. His person, home and pickup were searched by four Clackamas County detectives with the assistance of six La Grande police officers.

The Clackamas County officers transported Gunter back to the Clackamas County jail late Friday afternoon after he was booked here, La Grande police officers said. He is expected to be arraigned Monday, facing charges of first-degree kidnapping, robbery, rape, sodomy, sexual penetration and sexual abuse.

According to various statewide reports, tips led detectives to Gunter. The Oregonian reported that after an ad ran Tuesday showing a picture of a truck matching the description of Gunters green full-size pickup, a man who claimed hed been approached by Gunter about buying or trading the truck reported it.

An Associated Press report said this morning that a La Grande resident recognized a composite drawing of Gunter and reported it.

La Grande police said that the Clackamas detectives had been communicating with them over several days about the situation, and arrived in La Grande with their ducks in a row Friday.

While the Clackamas detectives located and interviewed Gunter, his truck and home on D Avenue were searched by police officers.

Gunter is suspected in kidnapping and raping a female Starbucks clerk, taking her from the store at 122nd Avenue and Sunnyside Road about 6:30 a.m. The suspect acted as if he had a gun under his shirt, according to sheriffs reports, and demanded money.

The suspect then forced the woman to leave with him, drove to an industrial area near Southeast 135th Avenue, raped her and left her on the side of the road.

Gunter last made headline news when his familys home burned in April 1998.

From Observer Staff Reports