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Suspect charged in tourist's rape

The Palm Harbor man has a history of burglary charges. Detectives say the December attack on a woman in a motel room was random.

A jailed Palm Harbor man was charged Thursday with the December rape of a Missouri tourist at an Ulmerton Road motel.

Rodney L. Corbitt, 30, of 1436 Carin Court was charged with armed sexual battery and armed burglary. He has been in Pinellas County Jail since last week on unrelated burglary, grand theft and other charges.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha said Corbitt is a known burglar who was established as a suspect in the rape shortly after it happened. Detectives have been developing evidence since December and began questioning Corbitt when he was arrested in connection with a recent string of burglaries. Corbitt told detectives he committed the rape, Pasha said.

The rape happened Dec. 28 at the La Quinta Inn at 3301 Ulmerton Road. A 42-year-old woman and her husband were staying at the motel while visiting relatives.

Her husband was not in the room when someone knocked on the door. She opened the door a crack, and a man forced his way into the room.

The intruder put a knife to the woman's throat, demanding jewelry and cash. He then raped her and climbed out a window.

Pasha said detectives determined that the attack was random and committed by someone who knocked on doors until one was opened.