After a lengthy investigation, detectives arrested a man over the alleged rape of two teenage girls in in 1987. Hours later he was released from custody.
After a lengthy investigation, detectives arrested a man over the alleged rape of two teenage girls in in 1987. Hours later he was released from custody.

Major breakthrough in historic teen rape case

An alleged sexual predator who kidnapped and repeatedly raped two teenage girls more than 30 years ago has been freed on bail just hours after he was taken into custody.

Sex crimes detectives swooped on Theodoros Tsalkos on Friday morning, following a DNA breakthrough almost three decades in the making.

Investigators allege Mr Tsalkos, 58, picked up two females in the early hours of May 7, 1987 in St Kilda before driving them to a dimly lit laneway near the Elwood canal and subjecting them to hours of sexual violence while threatening to kill them both.

Theodoros Tsalkos has been accused of raping two girls in St Kilda in the ‘80s. Picture: Josie Hayden
Theodoros Tsalkos has been accused of raping two girls in St Kilda in the ‘80s. Picture: Josie Hayden

The girls, aged 15 and 16 at the time, had become street sex workers just four days earlier and Ms Tsalkos, then 25, pretended to be an undercover cop during the prolonged assault, the court heard.

"Well girls, you've been busted for prostitution," Mr Tsalkos allegedly said before ordering one of the victims to get undressed.

When she refused, her alleged attacker said: "How would you like it if I blew your brains out".

The court heard Mr Tsalkos allegedly raped one of the girls before driving to a public bathroom and raping both teens and forcing them to perform sex acts on each other.

He eventually dropped his alleged victims back on Degraves St hours later and asked if they "would like to get a coffee", the court heard.

The teens were taken to hospital and forensically examined.

But with the advent of DNA still years away, the case sat dormant for 25 years.

In 2012, forensic experts began analysing almost 700 DNA samples linked to cold cases.

A full DNA profile of the wanted man was created and police reopened the investigation.

Detective Senior Constable Phil Drews told the Melbourne Magistrates Court Mr Tsalkos became a person of interest late last year.

The father-of-two was arrested and charged on Friday following an alleged DNA match, Detective Drews said.

The court heard one of his alleged victims had passed away in 2013.

Mr Tsalkos faces 22 charges including multiple counts of aggravated rape, false imprisonment and making threats to kill.

In opposing bail, the prosecution argued they had "very real concerns" Mr Tsalkos would interfere with witnesses in the case if released.

Defence lawyer Bridget Coath cited significant delays, provoked by the coronavirus outbreak, as grounds for bail.

Magistrate John Bentley agreed.

Mr Tsalkos, who was supported in court by his two adult children, will return to court in June.

genevieve.alison@news.com.au

Originally published as Major breakthrough in historic teen rape case

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.

 



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