Seattle police say the man allegedly targeted women working as prostitutes on Aurora Avenue North. The suspect, 48-year-old Andrew Tatum of Seattle, is a Level 3 sex offender.

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A suspected serial rapist who allegedly targeted women working as prostitutes on Seattle’s Aurora Avenue North was arrested Friday, according to police and prosecutors.

King County prosecutors this week charged Andrew Tatum, 48, with one count of second-degree rape, accusing him of assaulting a 36-year-old woman he picked up on Aurora Avenue North on Feb. 3, court records say. A warrant was then issued for Tatum’s arrest.

He is suspected in seven other rapes.

Details of his arrest weren’t immediately known, but the Level 3 sex offender (deemed high risk) was booked into the King County Jail on Friday afternoon and is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, jail records show.

In addition to being suspected of raping the 36-year-old three times in an hour, threatening her with a large, fixed-blade knife and choking her during the rapes, Tatum is under investigation for several other sexual assaults:

“The Seattle Police Department is currently investigating the defendant for seven more current rapes of prostitutes and expect to submit additional cases against him shortly,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote in charging papers, which say rape kits are being forensically examined at the State Patrol Crime Lab.

Tatum was twice acquitted in 2000 of third-degree rape.

In 2005, he was charged with raping a 13-year-old girl, after semen found on her clothing was matched to Tatum’s DNA, the records say. Four years later he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault with intent to commit child rape and second-degree child molestation, court records show. He was sentenced to just over 2½ years in prison.

Due to that prior conviction, Tatum is facing his potential “second strike” sex offense: If convicted of second-degree rape, “He will face life in prison without the possibility of release,” Carlstrom wrote in charging papers.

About 1 a.m. on Feb. 3, Tatum’s alleged victim was walking on the west side of Aurora Avenue North near North 87th Street when a man in a silver sedan pulled over, charging papers say. He agreed to pay her $100 for sex and she hopped into the passenger seat, say the charges.

The man told the woman he was from Tacoma and unfamiliar with the area, but she surmised from his driving that he actually knew the area well, charging papers say. He drove the woman to Sandel Park, several blocks west of Aurora, and feigned searching for his wallet before pulling out a large knife, the charges say.

He ordered the woman to remove her clothes, telling her he wouldn’t hurt her if she didn’t scream, then took several photos of her with his cellphone, say the charges. He held the knife to her throat as he raped her in the vehicle’s passenger seat; the man then raped her a second time, choking her.

The man asked the woman, “How many girls have been talking about me?” — an apparent reference to other women he is suspected of raping — and the woman replied, “Two or three,” the charges say.

He then drove her to a grocery store at North 87th Street and Greenwood Avenue North, raping her a third time in the parking lot, according to charging papers. He did not wear a condom during any of the attacks, the papers say.

The woman “realized she needed to preserve physical evidence of the rape,” so she used cotton swabs on her body, which she turned over to police when she reported being raped that same day, say the charges.

Detectives later went to an auto dealership near where the woman was picked up to see if they could retrieve video-surveillance footage of the suspect’s car, say the charges. They talked to an employee, who recognized the suspect’s description — and identified Tatum, who had come into the business in October and filled out a job application, charging papers say. The employee gave detectives the application, which included Tatum’s name, address and birth date, say the charges.

Tatum, who drives a silver BMW, lives in an apartment complex across the street and less than 500 feet south of the car dealership, say the charges.

When detectives showed the alleged victim a photo montage, “She quickly and without hesitation” picked Tatum out and “became very emotional” as she viewed his photograph, the charges say.