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LPD working on rape cases

Luverne Police Chief Bob Davis said his department has been working diligently to solve some recent rape cases that have occurred in Luverne, and one suspect has been arrested already.

"On Monday, July 26, at approximately 2 p.m. a rape occurred at the Ole Hotel, located on East 5th Street," Davis said. "A 49-year-old female reported a rape had occurred at that time at the Ole Hotel, and she alleged in her complaint that Jose Bellaza, a 39-year-old Hispanic male, had committed the crime."

Davis said according to the complaint, Bellaza and some co-workers - all self-employed construction workers at the SMART plant - were at the Ole Hotel eating, and Bellaza had been making crude remarks to the victim, an employee of the restaurant and hotel.

"The victim said in her complaint that when she went upstairs to clean a room, Bellaza was across the hall from the room she was in, and entered the room behind her, forcing himself upon her," Davis said. "She received treatment at Crenshaw Community Hospital, and we have arrested Bellaza, charging him with rape, first degree, because the crime was committed using forcible compulsion."

Davis said Bellaza was booked on the charges, and allowed to make bond with the court.

"He is staying in contact with us, and has gone back to be with some family members in Virginia," Davis said. "We will keep tabs on him through assistance of law enforcement where he is at, and he will return whenever the court requires him to be here - the case will be presented before a Grand Jury."

Davis said the department was also working on another rape case in Luverne.

"A complaint was signed alleging a rape that occurred on June 19," Davis said. "According to the complaint, on Saturday, June 19, at Westdale Apartment 119, at approximately midnight, Andre Robinson, also known as A.J., an 18-year-old black male, was reportedly in the apartment, staying for the night," Davis said. "A.J. allegedly raped an 11-year-old female in the bed he was in - he was reportedly in the bed with both the victim and a witness."

Davis said his department is receiving assistance from other agencies with both cases.

"While these cases will be turned over to District Attorney John Andrews for prosecution, the Alabama Department of Human Resources has been assisting with the case," he said. "Both victims will receive services provided to victims of violent crimes."