February 8, 2007
AIKEN CTY, S.C.---A Johnston man is in jail, accused of kidnapping a teenage girl from the Aiken Mall parking lot and then raping her.
It happened Tuesday night (February 6), and officers say they were able to catch the man because of help from a store clerk.
It all started in the Aiken Mall parking lot and ended 40 minutes away near Wagener.
The suspect had to stop for gas...and that stop had police hot on his heels.
27-year-old Wayne Gibson, Jr. is locked up, and it didn't take Aiken County authorities long to catch him.
Investigators say he kidnapped a 17-year-old girl in the Aiken Mall parking lot just after 8 o'clock Tuesday night.
"These people did not know each other," Lt. Michael Frank told News 12. "They were total strangers."
The New Ellenton teen was leaving the mall, waiting for a ride home. Officers say Gibson offered to give her a one, so they walked to his car.
But when she got there, she told police, she changed her mind. She says he then forced her in the car and took off.
Lt. Frank told us the suspect then took the teen 20 minutes away to the Wire Road area and raped her.
After the assault, he got on I-20 and quickly stopped at a gas station near Wagener.
Investigators say Gibson sent the girl inside her and told her to somehow come up with money to pay for the gas. Instead, she went inside and got help.
"When she went into the store, she became visibly upset, and the clerk there noticed, and the young lady explained what had happened," Lt. Frank said.
So the clerk locked the girl in a back office in the store and called police.
Gibson was still waiting outside.
"When our deputies arrived, the lady was safe in a back room, and we arrested the individual," Lt. Frank said.
Gibson is being charged with kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.
Lt. Frank says Gibson was not armed, and told us he has no prior record.
Again, this is another stranger-to-stranger rape case, which goes against the usual cases of victims knowing their attacker.
We've had two other stranger-to-stranger rape cases this year, both in Augusta.
One of them happened earlier this week. Deputies say a Glenn Hills High School student waited for a woman in the bathroom of Goody's and raped her at gunpoint. A 17-year-old was arrested the next day.
Before that, deputies searched for a week after a man attacked an elderly woman when she came home from walking her dog on Walton Way.