Police Arrest Alleged 'Photographing' Serial Rapist

Victor Visilayev, 39, is suspected of stalking his victims in stairwells or in their apartments.

An alleged serial rapist was arrested in Haifa last week, suspected of attacking five different women since 2007, police said on Sunday.

Victor Visilayev, 39, was nicknamed the "photographing rapist," claiming he was in the habit of taking pictures of each one of his victims.

According to police, Visilayev operated within Haifa's Hadar neighborhood, where he would stalk his victims when they were alone in stairwells or in their apartments.

He was brought before Haifa's magistrate's courts and was remanded by five days.

The first incident was recorded in October 2007, when police said Visilayev entered the home of one of his victims on Bar Giora street, while the apartment door was open.

Visilayev allegedly woke the woman from her sleep by kissing her, then proceeding to rape her at knife point.

Local police succeeded in extracting DNA samples from the scene, but were unable to track the suspect down since the suspect was unknown to authorities at that time.

About a year later, in August 2008, the same suspect allegedly arrived at another address on the same street, again entering an apartment with an open door.

That time, however, the women living in the apartment screamed, thus scaring away the suspect.

In March 2009, the suspect escaped after molesting another woman on Bar Giora street. Two days later he returned to the apartment, this time raping the woman.

About a month later, another incident occurred, in which Vasilayev allegedly surprised a woman on the same street as she was leaving her home. He attacked the woman and managed to get her inside the house, where he raped her, later leaving after stealing some of the woman's money.

Following these incident a special task force was formed by Haifa police. According to police chief Ahuva Tomer, police officers were successful in extracting DNA samples from the various scenes, as well as a finger print.

At first, Tomer said, police were unable to determine whether the incidents were perpetrated by a serial rapist, since the suspect was unknown to the police.

That lines of investigation was strengthened by the fact that the suspect's sketches, as they were drawn with the assistance of the various victims, did not resemble each other.

Several suspects were apprehended over recent weeks, only to be release as a result of a lack of substantial evidence

However, police estimated that the suspect would return to the same location, and so positioned a large number of patrols.

According to Tomer, the suspect in question is married and the father of one child, and works for an electronics company.

The suspect at first denied he had anything to do with the incidents, only to admit to his involvement under investigation.