BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – The Broward Sheriff’s Office announced charges Tuesday against Robert Koehler, known as the “Pillowcase Rapist,” for cold cases from the 1980s.
According to authorities, Koehler raped a woman at knifepoint in June 1984 after breaking into her apartment in Pompano Beach.
The woman has waited decades for justice to be served against her attacker.
According to detectives, they became closer to naming a suspect in that case in 2019 when Cold Case Unit Sgt. Kami Floyd began digging through thousands of sexual assault cases from the 1980s and came upon the case of the Pompano Beach woman, along with other similar cases in BSO jurisdictions.
“I started trying to identify some of these cases that matched his MO,” Floyd said.
Around the same time, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced that they had arrested Koehler for a sex crime in their county.
Floyd then obtained a search warrant for Koehler’s DNA and it was tested by BSO’s Crime Lab, which found that his DNA matched the evidence in BSO’s cases, authorities said.
“Anyone that preys as a sexual predator on our community, in my opinion, is part of the worst of society,” Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said Tuesday at a news conference.
The agency’s Cold Case Unit detectives worked with the Broward State Attorney’s Office to bring charges against Koehler in six sexual assault cases.
Koehler is currently in custody in Miami-Dade. Once the Miami case is adjudicated, Koehler will be brought to Broward to face the charges against him.
“This guy is a horrible, dangerous, evil predator,” one victim said.
While Koehler is currently charged in six cases in Broward County, detectives believe he snuck into homes late at night or in the early morning hours on at least eight occasions between 1984 and 1985. They also believe he is responsible for a total of 40 to 45 rape cases in the area throughout the 80s.
“It is not just a matter of dominating an individual’s body, but it creates psychological scars that last a lifetime,” Tony said.
Detectives said he would enter the homes through unlocked doors and attack his victims as they slept or as they were preparing to go to sleep.
“He would break into their apartment in the middle of the night,” Floyd said. “He would have a sharp instrument, threaten them not to scream and not to say anything (and then) he would sexually batter them.”
Koehler is known as the “Pillowcase Rapist” because authorities say “he sometimes covered the heads of his victims or his own head, sometimes with pillowcases, and threatened to kill them or their family members before raping and robbing them.”
In the 80s, the crimes received extensive media coverage, and a task force was even created to investigate the crimes, but the cases eventually went cold.
Authorities credit “technological advances in DNA testing and relentless work by detectives” to leading to the identification of Koehler as the rapist.
“We are hoping that victims that weren’t able to be identified at this time will come forward,” Floyd said.
Those who believe they may have been victimized by Koehler are urged to call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-493-8477.