Palo Alto rape suspect arrested

A Peninsula-wide search for an alleged kidnapper and rapist ended at a fast-food restaurant in south San Jose on Thursday night when Palo Alto detectives arrested a man suspected of a brazen sexual assault on a 17-year-old girl earlier this week.

Detectives followed Todd David Burpee, 20, as he left a friend’s house in San Jose after a chance tip from Palo Alto police Officer Eric Bulatao. He was arrested at approximately 10:20 p.m. The Palo Alto High School graduate has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of sexual assault, attempted murder and kidnapping of the Gunn High School student.

Burpee, who lived near Gunn High — not far from the site of the attack — until six months ago, is currently in the Santa Clara Countys Main Jail Complex.

Just after 4 p.m. onTuesday, Sunnyvale resident Fred Burgener found a panicked, bloodied teenaged girl running along North Fair Oaks Avenue in Sunnyvale. She said she told authorities an assailant had grabbed her near Gunn High School.

She said she was slammed to the ground several times before being forced into the car. According to her account, she was taken to an unknown location and sexually assaulted. She said she finally managed to escape from her kidnapper’s vehicle in Sunnyvale.

Burpee had family in San Jose and friends in Sunnyvale near where the woman was found after she escaped his vehicle.

“Our whole department is thrilled that we can tell people to breath a little easier tonight,” Palo Alto police Agent Dan Ryan said. “We of course still want people, male or female, to be careful.”

jgoldman@examiner.com

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