A Level 3 sex offender has been charged in connection with three rapes involving women working as prostitutes on Seattle’s Aurora Avenue North. Seattle police are investigating him in connection with five additional rapes.

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King County prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old Kent man with three counts of rape, and Seattle police continue to investigate the Level 3 sex offender in connection with five more sexual assaults, all involving women working as prostitutes on Aurora Avenue North.

Brandon Cole Reed was arrested last Wednesday, one day after prosecutors dismissed a second-degree-rape charge against another Level 3 sex offender who was arrested in February in connection with the rapes Reed is now suspected of committing, court records show.

Charges were dismissed against the initial suspect because of “evidentiary considerations,” prosecutors said.

Reed, who is charged with two counts of first-degree rape and one count of second-degree rape, is in the King County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail, according to jail records.

Reed “picks up prostitutes on Aurora Avenue, drives to a nearby location, and then rapes them, by brandishing a knife, threatening to hurt or kill them, handcuffing them or brandishing mace,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote in charging documents.

According to court records, Reed was 11 and his brother was 12 in 1995 when they dragged a 12-year-old girl into their house in Seattle’s High Point neighborhood and took turns raping her while their 8-year-old brother watched and a 9-year-old friend helped hold the girl down.

Reed and his older brother were found guilty of second-degree rape in 1996 and sentenced to 21 to 28 weeks in juvenile detention, the records show. Both were required to register as sex offenders for 15 years, and in 2004 the brothers were arrested at their father’s house in Federal Way for failing to do so, according to court records. They pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of attempted failure to register.

Reed was also convicted in 2009 of second-degree malicious mischief for throwing rocks and damaging his ex-girlfriend’s car after she refused to get back together with him, court records say.

According to the charging papers in the rape case against Reed, a 34-year-old woman reported she was raped in January after being picked up on Aurora Avenue North and North 95th Street in a gray Volkswagen Jetta. She was handcuffed, threatened with a knife and photographed during the assault. She said the man forced her to put a shirt over her head so she could not watch him drive away, charging papers say.

Also in January, a Seattle police officer interviewed a 33-year-old woman who had been raped after being picked up by a man in a gray four-doorJetta on Aurora Avenue North between North 90th and North 100th streets, charging papers say.

She had her hands cuffed behind her back as she was raped in the passenger seat, according to charges. She told police her assailant called himself “Officer Marks” and said he pretended to run her ID for warrants on his cellphone.

During her interview with police, the woman told officers of another woman she knew who had also been raped by a man matching the attacker’s description, the charges say.

That woman, a 38-year-old, said she was picked up on Aurora near North 92nd Street on Jan. 23 and was driven to a nearby intersection and raped, according to the charges. Her attacker brandished a large kitchen knife, threatened to kill her and recorded her with his cellphone as she performed a sex act, the charges say.

The woman said her assailant told her to cover her face with her clothing, but then put a plastic bag over her head and tied another around her neck before making her get out of the car, according to charging papers. He had driven away by the time she was able to remove the bags.

Then March 5, the same man in a Jetta attempted to again pick up the 38-year-old on Aurora Avenue North, but when she opened the car door, she recognized him and refused to get in, say the charges. As she walked away, she wrote down his license-plate number, which she turned over to detectives.

Detectives ran the license plate and determined that the Jetta was registered to Reed, who matched the descriptions provided by the alleged victims, the papers say.

He was arrested Wednesday in a traffic stop after leaving his Kent residence, according to the charges.

Police later found a large chef’s knife under the driver’s seat of his car as well as a canister of pepper spray, say the charges. They also found clothing — including paint-spattered jeans described by two of the women — and another knife in Reed’s bedroom in the Kent house he shares with his girlfriend, charging papers say.