Dallas police haven't officially cleared Alan Mason, the man they identified as a "person of interest" in the recent string of nine rapes in the area around Fair Park, of wrongdoing. He's still in jail for violating his probation for driving while intoxicated. But any evidence suggesting his involvement -- he wears oval, gold-rimmed glasses, he drives a silver Honda; an anonymous tipster reported that he'd said "needed to get out of town because he had done something wrong" -- was purely circumstantial.
The case against Van Dralan Dixson, whom police identified as a suspect over the weekend, is stronger, with his DNA being found on at least one of the nine known victims.
Dixson, 38, was convicted of several counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in 1992; an aggravated sexual assault charge from the same year was dismissed. His rap sheet, in Dallas County at least, stayed clean for the next 21 years. He even took to volunteering for his neighborhood watch program, according to NBC 5.
Then, in June, Dixson was accused of pointing a gun at someone. He was arrested on August 3 -- after the first two rapes -- on a misdemeanor charge of deadly conduct. He posted a $1,500 bond and was released.
Then, he went straight back to patrolling his neighborhood.
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"He just walks every night, all night," a man named Billy Washington told WFAA. "Every time I would look out my window, or out my door, he was walking."
"He would have on his basketball shorts and his T-shirt, and he would have his weapon, of course," another neighbor told the station. "He would just be patrolling our neighborhood."
Dixson disappeared from the neighborhood several days ago. His car turned up on Sunday in Garland and was towed to the city pound. He has four children, whom police say were left in the care of relatives.