Police arrest Duluth man suspected in rape

DULUTH - A Duluth man is charged with posing as a police officer - flashing a badge and gun - before raping a woman in an extended stay hotel room last year, police said.

Deputies with the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department fugitive unit arrested Preston Mitchell, 47, as he stopped to inflate a tire Monday at a QuikTrip gas station on Peachtree Parkway.

Mitchell, who's charged with rape and impersonating an officer, remains at the Gwinnett County Jail without bond.

The alleged rape happened Feb. 21 at an Extended Stay Deluxe Hotel on Venture Parkway, according to a police report.

The alleged victim, a Duluth woman, told police she was raped by a black man - a supposed police officer - who identified himself only as "Davidson." Crime scene investigators processed the scene but, for nearly a year, police lacked enough evidence to make an arrest.

Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said recent, undisclosed evidence has emerged in the case - enough to establish probable cause for Mitchell's arrest.

"It took some time to develop him as a suspect," she said.

It was unclear Tuesday why the alleged victim was staying in the hotel, or what relationship she shared with Mitchell.

In an unrelated case Tuesday, the fugitive unit arrested a Valdosta man living in Lawrenceville who's wanted in two Georgia counties on robbery and rape charges.

Valdosta police informed local authorities that Austin Evan Dalton, 18 - wanted in Valdosta for aggravated battery, kidnapping and robbery stemming from an incident last August that left a man severely injured - was holed up in a Lawrenceville home, said Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais.

He was arrested without incident.

Dalton is also wanted on a rape charge in Glynn County, in coastal southeast Georgia.