Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Man who evaded arrest by ocean escape, apprehended by jet ski, gets 20 years in rape case

Francis Zober, 35, was convicted on numerous criminal charges Monday that stem from a revenge porn case investigated by Brunswick County Sheriff's Office. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)
Francis Zober, 35, was convicted on numerous criminal charges Monday that stem from a revenge porn case investigated by Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office)

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — A man who attempted to evade arrest by swimming into the ocean was convicted in a revenge porn case in Brunswick County Monday.

Francis Zober pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree rape, second-degree forcible sex offense, kidnapping burglary, and 12 counts of second-degree exploitation of a minor. He will be a registered sex offender for his entire life.

Related: In-depth investigation: Despite false testimony, sex offender walked free in child pornography plea deal

In a plea agreement, Zober was sentenced to serve at least 20.5 years to a maximum of nearly 35 years in prison, according to a Brunswick County District Attorneys Office press release Monday. He was also given a suspended sentence of over 12.5 years that could become activated at the end of his first term.

Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office detectives first discovered suspicious images on Zober’s cell phone and enlisted the assistance of the FBI. Over 200 images and videos and images were detected on his device, which resulted in 12 counts of second-degree ‘exploitation of a minor’ charges. Zober poset bond in April 2018, but several days later, he broke into the victim’s home.

He assaulted, restrained and terrorized the victim, according to Brunswick County District Attorney’s Office, before fleeing to South Carolina. Detective Phillip Horne with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office testified that 35-year-old Zober was captured in Folly Beach, S.C. after fleeing a traffic stop. Zober attempted to escape the traffic stop by swimming into the Atlantic Ocean.

He was eventually apprehended in the ocean after Folly Beach Police Department officers arrived via jet-ski. Zober was then transported back to Brunswick County to await trial.


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