Russian police on Tuesday said they had arrested a man suspected of robbing and killing 26 elderly women between 2011 and 2012, after investigators carried out thousands of genetic tests.
The Investigative Committee, a body charged with probing major crimes, said in a statement that "painstaking and systematic work" had led it to conclude that 38-year-old locksmith Radik Tagirov murdered the women across central Russia."Based on the results of forensic research and biological analysis.... it was established that all of the acts were committed by one person," the statement said, adding that more 10,000 genetic tests had been carried out.
It said that "the genotype and footprints of the attacker" and "the pattern of his actions" matched those of Tagirov.
According to investigators, Tagirov is a resident of the city of Kazan, more than 800 kilometres (500 miles) east of Moscow, and was convicted of theft in 2009.
Investigators said Tagirov was in the process of confessing and that biological samples they had obtained from him were to undergo genetic examination.
Russia has seen some of the world's most prolific serial killers.
Siberian ex-policeman Mikhail Popkov was convicted of 78 murders carried out between 1992 and 2007, when he raped and killed women with an axe or hammer after offering them late-night rides.Alexander Pichushkin -- the so-called "Chessboard Killer" -- was sentenced to life in prison in Moscow in 2007 for 48 murders, most between 2002 and 2006. He said he wanted to kill one person for each of the 64 squares on a chessboard, and crossed out a square for every kill.