MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Police said a man accused of raping two people is now behind bars, but investigators believe he could have assaulted several more people as far away as California.
According to the Mooresville Police Department, officers were called on Sunday to a parking lot off River Highway on Lake Norman for a sexual assault. The victim told police she had met the suspect online and that she had agreed to meet him in Mooresville on June 16.
After meeting the suspect, police said she got into his car and was taken to that parking lot. That was where he raped her, police said.
After the assault, investigators said the suspect left her in the parking lot without her car or phone.
Detectives said they were able to identify the suspect using information from the victim about him and his car. She said he was a middle-aged man and drove a silver or gray Dodge Charger with a black stripe.
Police said they took out arrest warrants for the crime.
While they were investigating, detectives said the Huntersville Police Department contacted them about a second victim. Huntersville police said this victim was in the hospital there and had been sexually assaulted by the same suspect on Tuesday. When detectives interviewed her, Huntersville police said she gave a description that matched the one the first victim had given of the suspect, his car and how she was assaulted.
Huntersville police said the second victim had also met the suspect online and had agreed to meet him in Mooresville. She said she was driven to the same remote parking lot, where the suspect raped her and left the scene, investigators said. Huntersville detectives took out more warrants for this second assault.
Police said Michael Brandon Shinn, 29, of Sherrills Ford was charged with two counts of second-degree forcible rape and one count of a second-degree forcible sex offense.
Mooresville police said as the investigation has continued, they learned Shinn was targeting women online and may be involved in similar incidents in other jurisdictions, including Catawba County. For that reason, MPD is working with several agencies -- as far away as California -- on similar cases. Police said they’re trying to find and identify other possible victims he may have sexually assaulted.
“We’re investigating several alleged instances of sexual assault and rape involving not only our town, but other jurisdictions as far away as California,” said Cpt. J.L. Quinn with Mooresville police.
According to a search warrant in Catawba County, Shinn agreed to pay a woman in 2021 to have dinner, not far from where he was living in Sherrills Ford. Court documents said he sexually assaulted the woman who began screaming and bit his hand. The search warrant included a photo that Shinn had sent the victim before meeting, which allowed deputies to identify him.
Deputies said he has not been charged in connection with that assault or several others that they are investigating in the southern part of Catawba County.
Channel 9′s Dave Faherty also learned there’s a domestic violence protection order against Shinn for making harassing phone calls and sending text messages to a woman in Hickory.
In a news conference Thursday, Mooresville police said the investigation is their top priority right now. Authorities also shared precautions people should take when dating online.
“Just use general safety. Don’t meet strangers in isolated places. Try to meet them in public. And get to know this person before you meet them anywhere,” Quinn said.
Shinn was taken to the Iredell County jail under a $600,000 bond.
If you or anyone you know may have been a victim of or had contact with Shinn, you are encouraged call Mooresville Police Department’s Detective Saladino at 704-664-3311.
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