Police: Man raped teenage girls at Dizengoff Center

Suspect lured teenage girls using drugs and cigarettes to deserted parking garage at the mall where he raped them.

arrest  311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
arrest 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
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 them.
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 Center.
Police would not confirm or deny whether he has a previous criminal record.
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 forward.