Using drugs and cigarettes to earn their trust, a 23-year-old Israeli man lured
at least six teenage girls into the parking garage and deserted areas of the
Dizengoff Center mall in Tel Aviv, where he sexually assaulted them, the courts
cleared for publication on Wednesday.
All of the victims are between the
ages of 13-15, and police believe at least three of them were raped by the
suspect, Vladimir Spoznikov.
According to Ch.-Insp. Osher Tzadok,
head of the youth investigative branch at the Lev Tel Aviv precinct, Spoznikov
would come to the mall with hash and marijuana, and work his way into groups of
teenagers spending their summer vacation hanging out at the mall. He would offer
them cigarettes and give or sell them the drugs to earn their trust, while
singling out specific girls to attack. He would then invite a girl down to the
parking garage, basement or other out-of-the-way places in and around the mall,
where he would attack them.
When asked if Spoznikov used violence in
carrying out the assaults, Tzadok said “the term rape includes many different
types of crimes in the penal code,” and hinted that even though the acts may
have been consensual, they would at the very least be considered statutory rape
because the victims were minors.
He did add, however, that Spoznikov
threatened the victims, saying he would cause them serious harm if they told
anyone about what happened – a threat they took seriously since he was much
bigger and older than the victims and their friends.
Tzadok said the
assaults only came to light by accident two weeks ago, as police were
investigating a different case involving teenagers and drugs at Dizengoff
Center, when they began to hear from teenagers about a man in his 20s who was
harassing young girls. People then changed the course of the investigation and
appointed a task force to look into the suspicions, eventually reaching six
victims, all of whom identified Spoznikov as the man who attacked
Spoznikov was found less than a week later, even though he does not
have a permanent address and stays at a number of apartments in the
Police would not confirm or deny whether he has a previous
On Wednesday, he was brought for his third remand
extension, during which police asked the court to remove the gag order on the
case, mainly in hopes that media coverage would encourage more victims to come
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