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May 3, 2013

Attacker terrorized southeast Norman

NORMAN — By his own admission, Robert Howard Bruce terrorized Norman for many years. The 51-year-old Colorado prison inmate was identified through DNA as the man who committed multiple rapes and burglaries in Norman.

Good police work lead authorities to Bruce, who confessed to 14 incidents. He lived here in the early 1980s, moved away but returned to southeast Norman, where he attacked women, mostly OU students.

Authorities said he had a pattern of watching the women’s homes and waiting until he knew they were asleep. He would break in and adjust their thermostats so the heater or air conditioner would come on.

In other attacks, police said he would watch women as they left bars late at night and follow them home, waiting outside until he was convinced they were asleep before breaking into their homes.

Authorities said he was a professional who burglarized homes and attacked women in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. He is serving time in a Colorado prison and will start a 177-year sentence here if he ever gets out of prison there.

The women who were attacked here can take some comfort in knowing he will not harm others and won’t likely ever leave prison. Some of the victims will choose to speak out about the attacks, and we applaud their courage.

For others, the sentence this week, may help bring closure.

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