“A monster is off the streets”: Richland County Sheriff announces arrest in string of sexual assaults and burglaries
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Richland County Sheriff’s Department is seeking information on an alleged serial rapist that’s been targeting women through social media and dating apps.
Antonious Randolph, 29, was arrested over the weekend and charged with two counts of assault and battery in the first degree and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Deputies believe that Randolph sexually assaulted at least six women after luring each of them to different locations. WIS’ Ashley Jones has the latest in the investigation.
The investigation continues into these alleged assaults and deputies believe these attacks happened over 18 months. Officials are now asking anyone who may have been a victim to please come forward.
Sheriff Leon Lott announced the arrest of Randolph on Monday afternoon. He says the arrest was a collaborative effort with a victim advocacy group called Pathways to Healing.
According to the sheriff, the investigation into Randolph began after an attempted robbery at a home in Northeast Columbia in November 2021. The caller reported that a man attempted to pull her into a home, but she was able to flee. Almost a year later, in August, a woman reported to RCSD that she had been sexually assaulted at gunpoint in a home in Northeast Columbia by a man she met on a dating app.
In both December and January, two more women reported similar encounters saying they had been assaulted by a man they met on an app. From that point, investigators were able to determine they were dealing with a serial rapist.
Investigators say Randolph would meet women over social media and dating apps and lure them to different locations where he would allegedly assault them at gunpoint or with a knife. Deputies say they apprehended Randolph when he was about to strike again.
Sheriff Lott said, “Based on some things that we had done. We realized that that individual was about to do another one. So, officers responded, and we were able to apprehend Antonious Randolph. He had a mask, he had a knife, and he had a sex toy with him, which fit the information we got from the previous assaults.”
“After a sexual assault, it’s such a traumatic experience, and having to report that to somebody you don’t even know, can be even more traumatizing. So, we’re a part of that process just to make it a little smoother. So, we literally hold their hands during that process,” said Rebecca Lorick the Executive Director of Pathways to Healing.
Randolph has been given a 250-thousand-dollar bond, but Sheriff Lott is assuring safety for any other victims of Randolph’s that want to report it.
You can make a report directly to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department or to Pathways to Healing at 803-771-7273.
Notice a spelling or grammar error in this article? Click or tap here to report it. Please include the article's headline.
Copyright 2023 WIS. All rights reserved.