Petah Tikva police on Monday arrested a man they believe carried out a series of violent sexual assaults, including rape.
Police were first alerted to a possible rapist in December, 2008, after they received several complaints from parents who said their children had been assaulted by a pedophile in the city. Police launched an investigation and, on Monday night, arrested a 23-year-old local man they suspected terrorizing local children over the course of a year.
Police have so far linked the suspect to attacks on five children between the ages of 8 and 14. None of the victims knew the attacker and all of the assaults reportedly happened after the suspect met them in the street and, through the use of threats and violence, took them into side streets and assaulted them. Police said the attacks were violent in nature and the suspect used force to subdue his victims.
The case was reportedly cracked after a long investigation in which police used DNA samples, witness testimony, and long hours of undercover work to track down the alleged child-rapist.
The suspect, who has no record of sex crimes, was brought before a Petach Tikva court on Tuesday, where his remand was extended by five days.
During police questioning, the suspect said, "If I did these things, it's a sign that I'm sick, and need help." He also expressed regret and claimed to have committed the crimes while under the influence of drugs.
A police spokesperson told the Jerusalem Post Tuesday that police suspect there are several additional victims who have not yet come forward.