'Bad Breath Rapist' nabbed in California after 16 years on the run

A convicted rapist who fled during his 2007 trial in Massachusetts and evaded capture for over 16 years was arrested in California on Tuesday, law enforcement officials said.

Tuen Kit Lee, 55, was convicted by a Norfolk Superior Court jury of raping and seriously injuring a waitress after breaking into her family's home in Quincy, Mass., in 2005, according to the Massachusetts State Police.

He wore a mask and sexually assaulted the woman at knifepoint.

The victim recognized her attacker because of his foul breath, police said, and he was soon dubbed the "Bad Breath Rapist" in local media.

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During his trial, Lee posted $100,000 bail and fled, police said. He was convicted in absentia and would have faced a possible sentence of life in prison.

Law enforcement officials believed Lee had left the state, but were unable to locate him until they developed information that he lived in Diablo, a small town in Northern California, according to a press release from the U.S. Marshals Service.

Police in nearby Danville looked into the leads, and officials from Massachusetts soon arrived to arrest Lee.

The Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force of the Marshals Service, a group that partners with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to "locate and apprehend the most dangerous fugitives and assist in high profile investigations," was credited with coordinating the arrest.

“There are violent offenders out there who believe they can commit crimes and not be held accountable for their actions,” said Sean LoPiccolo, commander of the task force. “Tuen Lee was on the run for more than 16 years," he said, and the arrest "hopefully brings peace of mind to the victim and her family.”

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.