Police: Only public will find serial rapist
Large police forces dispatched to Tel Aviv's central railway station Saturday following reports escaped convict Benny Sela was seen in area; some 2,000 police officers searching for serial rapist since morning hours. Simultaneously, investigation enters high gear, police sources do not reject possibility Sela was aided by element inside system
In spite of the wide-scale search, police officials estimated that only the public will help capture him.
At around 11 a.m., large police forces were dispatched to Tel Aviv's central railway station following reports of citizens who saw Sela in the area and watched him escape as the police arrived.
In the meantime, a special investigation team is attempting to discover how Sela managed to fool the system, and whether he received any help from the inside.
Police Chief Moshe Karadi held an special discussion Saturday morning following Sela's escape.
At the end of the meeting, Karadi instructed police commanders to expand the search for the prisoner to other districts as well, to continue the investigation into the escape and to brief police officers on procedures for accompanying prisoners.
Meanwhile, the investigation into the serial rapist's escape entered high gear Saturday morning. A joint police and Israel Prison Service team, headed by Commander Danny Avimeir, is checking Sela's court summons, which seemed completely authentic.
Sources in the police told Ynet that they were looking into the possibility that an element inside the system issued the forged summons.
In addition, the Tel Aviv Police is also looking into the fact that the Israel Prison Service failed to inform the accompanying police officers in advance that they were driving a dangerous convict.
Benny Sela during court hearing (Archive photo: Jeremy Feldman)
The Tel Aviv District Police said in a statement that "as part of the comprehensive inquiry into the feeding of the summons into the system, all options are being checked."
On Friday evening, Commander Avimeir instructed to open the Labor Court and receive Sela's file. In addition, the police were attempting to locate the serial rapist's relatives in order to check whether they helped him following his escape.
The Tel Aviv District Police forces were boosted Friday night with volunteers and police officers from across the country, including the Southern District, the Central District, the Northern District, and even the immigration police.
The police was aided by many volunteers, off-road vehicles, dogs, mounted police and helicopters circling in the air. Police sources added that Sela's picture was in each police car in Israel, although the search for him still focuses on the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
Efrat Weiss contributed to the report