ALMOST EXACTLY a year after the Kensington Strangler terrorized the neighborhood, police are investigating a serial rapist at work along the same Kensington Avenue corridor.

Police last night reportedly had a person of interest in custody in the rapes.

In the first attack, on Nov. 14, a 26-year-old woman told police she was walking along Kensington Avenue near Somerset Street at 6:25 a.m. when she got into a white Volkswagen Jetta with a man who had been walking in the area. The man drove away and sexually assaulted her at knifepoint, police said.

Police said a 32-year-old woman reported that she was walking on Sergeant Street near Kensington Avenue about 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 22, when a man in a white Volkswagen Jetta began following her before forcing her into his vehicle at knifepoint. She said he then drove to Harold Street near Jasper, where he sexually assaulted her.

In a third incident, which police said happened sometime between the two others, a woman was walking near Kensington and Allegheny avenues about midnight when she accepted a ride from a man in a white car with tinted windows who sexually assaulted her at knifepoint.

None of the victims was injured beyond the sexual assaults, said Lt. Anthony McFadden of the Special Victims Unit. All three described their attacker as a heavyset Hispanic man in his 30s about 5 feet 8 with a tan complexion; short, dark hair, and tattoos on both forearms.

Police reportedly arrested a suspect last night after two officers followed the 1999 Volkswagen Jetta they were searching for to the parking lot of a Save-A-Lot at Lehigh and Trenton avenues, less than a mile from where the alleged attacks occurred.

Kensington was on edge this time last year as police searched for a man wanted for sexually assaulting and killing three women. Antonio Rodriguez, 21, was arrested in January and charged with the crimes.