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Convicted Massachusetts rapist found in Maine after 34-year manhunt

Cumberland County Sheriff's Office

This undated photo released by the Cumberland County, Maine, Sheriff's Office shows Gary Irving, who was convicted of rape in Massachusetts and who had been on the run for 35 years.

A 34-year search for one of Massachusetts' most wanted fugitives came to an end Wednesday when police arrested a convicted rapist who fled to Maine after facing a possible life sentence. 

Police from Massachusetts and Maine teamed up to find 52-year-old Gary Allen Irving at his home in Gorham, Maine, where he had been living since 2002. Authorities believe that for decades he had been in the area, making a life for himself and keeping a low profile.

In 1978, Irving was convicted of three counts of rape in Norfolk County, Mass. But when a judge granted him a short stay to get his affairs in order before his sentencing, he took off.

Massachusetts State Police say Irving had changed his name to Gregg Irving and changed his date of birth to throw police off his scent. Authorities would not say what evidence led them to Irving, only that information developed in recent days.

State police from Massachusetts and Maine, along with local police and the FBI, also found numerous handguns and rifles — which Irving faces federal charges for illegally owning.

Police told NBC affiliate WCSH that Irving was found in the home with his wife, who was in shock during the arrest. Neighbors described him as pleasant and a normal resident.

Though he bore little resemblance to his mug shot photo snapped more than 30 years earlier, scars on Irving's chest and back helped police identify the fugitive, officials said. 

Irving was found guilty of multiple rapes during the 1970s and convicted of rape with force, kidnapping and unnatural acts. 

In one instance he was accused of knocking a victim off her bike and forcing her to a secluded area, where he repeatedly raped her, according to Massachusetts State Police.

In another, he forced a woman walking alone into his car and threatened her with a knife if she resisted.

Irving is being held in Portland, Maine, and will appear in the Cumberland County Courthouse on Friday.