Russian authorities arrested a man suspected of killing 26 elderly women between 2011 and 2012.
According to police, the suspect, a 38-year-old named Radik Tagirov, worked as a locksmith and was previously convicted for theft. He is a resident of a Russian city called Kazan.
Investigators said the suspect allegedly gained access to victims’ homes by posing as a utility worker before using objects such as dressing-gown cords and electricity cables to strangle them.
The majority of the women he killed were aged 70 and above.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, which operates as the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, said that Tagirov’s arrest was a result of forensic research and biological analysis which suggested that criminal acts against women had been committed by one individual.
“Based on the results of forensic research and biological analysis … it was established that all of the acts were committed by one person,” Russian police said in a statement.
It also alleged that the pattern of a number of the attackers’ actions appeared to have matched the behaviour of the suspect and that authorities had made the decision to detain him following “painstaking and systematic work.”
Authorities said more than 10,000 genetic tests had been carried out and that “the genotype and footprints of the attacker” and “the pattern of his actions” matched those of Tagirov.
Tagirov was named the “Volga maniac” for being linked to numerous killings and crimes committed in Russia’s Volga River.
Last year, police offered a bounty worth three million rubles ($40,000) for any information that would lead to Tagirov’s arrest after hunting him for several years.
Authorities said that the suspect was held and being questioned on Tuesday and was providing information in relation to the inquiries.
Tagirov struck cities such as Kazan, Samara, Tolyatti, Izhevsk and Ufa, until going quiet in 2013.
A new string of killings happened in 2017 and sparked fear that he had returned.
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