"I stole their phones, I didn't rape (anyone)," the prime suspect in the Gan Hair rape case said on Tuesday.
- TA rape: Palestinian arrested near crime scene TA plans special patrol unit to fight growing crime
- Woman brutally raped in Tel Aviv parking lot
Police questioned the man overnight. He denied the allegations, saying that he had stolen the couple's phones but did not commit any rape.
The investigation, dubbed by the police the "Terror in Gan Hair case," has revealed that the suspect has been living in Israel without authorization for a considerable time, sleeping in different houses in north Tel Aviv and making a living at odd jobs.
The suspect hangs his head during his remand hearing. (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
Tel Aviv police identified him on Sunday, placed him under surveillance and were able to search his last residence.
Yarkon District detectives arrested him on Monday evening, not far from the crime scene. DNA evidence and fingerprints that could tie him to the crime had already been collected from the parking lot.
The police are investigating how another four suspects arrested Monday may be connected to the crime, but believe that they knew about the rape and might have tried to help the suspect hide his tracks.
Police were also looking into the possibility that the prime suspect is connected to other recent crimes in Tel Aviv. Yarkon District Commander Brig.-Gen. Yoram Ohayon told Ynet that the suspect was "very familiar with all the streets near the rape scene."
The file in the 'Terror in Gan Hair' case. (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
At Tuesday's hearing, a police official described the alleged events in the parking lot: "The suspect met the victim by chance and followed (the couple), threatening them at knifepoint. He forced them into a bathroom, ordered them to have sex, and then raped the young woman and tried to rape the man."
Magistrate's Court Judge Benny Sagi orded the suspect be remanded, ruling that despite the short time that had passed since the incident, investigators have been able to amass a considerable amount of evidence. "The evidence is stronger than could be demanded at this point in the process, to the point of reasonable suspicion," Sagi explained.
The suspect's attorney, public defender Ran Alon, said that his client was a young man with no prior convictions. "He has admitted to theft, but denies the other charges," Alon said.
Also on Tuesday, the police arrested several Sudanese and Eritrean nationals for allegedly assaulting a 19-year-old woman in another Tel Aviv parking lot, in the early hours of the morning.
The police believe the men robbed the women before sexually assaulting her.Four of the suspects denied the allegations and claimed they were physically assaulted by officers. The Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court extended their remand by six days.