The witness, who was last seen in his bed Wednesday night, spent the weekend in the north of Israel and was caught by police as he was hiding in cabinet under the sink at a Tel Aviv apartment.
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The State witness arrived at a Haifa hotel on Thursday, and a friend checked them in. The Tel Aviv Central Unit detectives who were looking for both men arrived at the hotel, yet the two managed to escape even though the police were on site.
"They seemed nice. I thought they might be tourists," said the owner of the Haifa hotel to which the State witness and his friends had arrived.
"We showed them the room, and that was it," he added, noting that at 2 am, when police arrived at the hotel, he rushed to the front desk, but the witness had already escaped.
The Haifa hotel (Photo: Mohamed Shenawy)
Apparently, the witness' friend called the hotel Saturday, asking about a lighter he had forgotten and coincidentally also querying whether the police had visited the hotel.
The police used the number from which the friend had called the hotel to trace the caller.
Tel Aviv apartment building where witness was found (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Tal Shimron, son of the hotel owner, said that "the cops were upfront with me from the get go, saying that the State witness was most likely hiding in our hotel. The police asked me to take them to his room. They entered the room armed with stun guns, but he was already gone.
Following his capture, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said that it must be ensured that the State witness will continue to cooperate with the police. "We must make sure that the witness continues in the brave step he has taken in order to prosecute the suspects of this despicable crime," Danino said.
The commissioner noted that the witness' escape from the safe house "should not have happened" and said the police will draw conclusions from this event.
The main suspect in the 2009 LGBT youth center shooting case, Haggai Felician, his relative who was allegedly sexually harassed by Barnoar manager, and their mutual friend Tarlan Hanikishayev, are to face a remand hearing Sunday.
Omri Efraim contributed to this report.
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