A JEEPNEY barker was arrested by operatives of the Talisay City Police Station after he allegedly abducted and raped a seven-year-old girl in a vacant lot at Reclamation Area, Purok Boulevard, Barangay 13, Bacolod City, last Sunday, April 17.

Ricket “Badyaw” Veraje, 26, a resident of Hacienda Bubog, Talisay City, was arrested following the confirmation of his identity from close-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage that captured the incident, according to Chief Inspector Dianne Catedral.

Catedral, head of the Bacolod City Police Office's Women and Children Protection Desk (WCPD), said Veraje was positively identified by his colleagues based on CCTV footage. Police records showed that he had an outstanding warrant for theft.

Investigators recounted that at around 11 a.m. Sunday, the victim and her two cousins were inside a store at Luzuriaga Street when Veraje convinced her to go with him to a mall to buy coconut juice.

The girl was visiting her grandmother, who owned the store.

The suspect then brought the girl to a vacant lot at the Reclamation Area where she was molested, Catedral said.

At around 2 p.m., the parents of the victim reported to Police Station 1 that their daughter was abducted.

The relatives of the suspect told police that Veraje has pending arrest warrants with the Talisay City Police Station.

The WCPD, together with the family of the victim, coordinated with the Talisay City Police Office, but they failed to locate the suspect.

At around 6:45 p.m., the operatives were about to return to Bacolod when the father of the victim spotted his daughter walking in front of The District mall in Talisay City along with the suspect.

The operatives rescued the girl, but the suspect evaded arrest after he ran toward a sugarcane field.

The victim later told authorities that after the incident at the Reclamation Area, the suspect brought her to a seaside location before proceeding to the mall.

At about 7:50 a.m. Monday, police cornered Veraje at Zone 15, Talisay City, and was arrested.

Catedral said her office was waiting for the result of the medical examination for the filing of proper charges against the suspect, who is detained at the Talisay City Police Station.

The WCPD reminded parents to always tell their children not to talk to strangers and not to accept anything from people they do not know.