'Model scout' arrested for allegedly raping victims during photoshoots
A 32-year-old man who allegedly posed as a model scout and lured aspiring models to photoshoots where he raped them was arrested during a lockdown operation in the Eastern Cape.
The man had been sought by police in connection with a series of rape incidents, said police spokesperson Brig Thembinkosi Kinana.
“Unsuspecting victims were lured through social media under the disguise and a promise for work as a model,” he said.
The arrest comes three days after a 17-year-old victim saw an advert about photoshoots for young girls who wanted to work and be paid as models on Facebook.
Kwinana said the victim applied and was told to attend her shoot on Monday at midday.
“She attended the photoshoot alone with the suspect after other models left. During the photoshoot, it is when the suspect allegedly raped the victim. Although the victim did not know the suspect, she said she was able to identify him,” he said.
Further police investigations revealed that the suspect had several Facebook accounts and was a regular traveller to destinations all over the country.
“In all these different towns the suspect was advertising to attract young girls to pitch up for the photo sessions. It is believed this is how he lured the unsuspecting victims, chose his targets and raped them,” said Kwinana.
“Police managed to get the real identity of the suspect. Under his police profile there were already several rape cases pending against him.”
The man was intercepted through an intelligence operation while travelling from Mthatha to King William's Town. He was found in possession of a false doctor's note that aided him to travel around during the lockdown, as well as a laptop, a camera, memory cards and a cellphone.
A case of fraud and contravention of Covid-19 regulations was added to his charges. He was subsequently detained in Queenstown.
Police could not rule out the possibility of more charges being added as the man had travelled all over the country.
“The suspect is believed to have visited a lot of towns and in each opened a Facebook account he later used it as a launching pad for his criminal traps and schemes,” said Kwinana.
“Police are also of the view that there must be a lot of other cases unreported or pending under the suspects' name or under investigation by other stations and FCS units all over South Africa, especially from cases that emanated from the Facebook accounts.”
Police have since urged anyone with information about the suspect to contact the Queenstown police.