"Let's get this psycho off the streets of Philadelphia."
Mayor Michael Nutter's statement kicked off the street-side community briefing in Kensington Tuesday morning -- an emphatic plea to catch the Kensington Strangler.
"We strongly believe that someone in the neighborhood, someone on the streets of Philadelphia knows who this person is," Nutter said, announcing a $37,000 reward.
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Usually, reward money is given for the arrest and conviction of criminals, but in this case, $7,000 will be given just for the suspect's arrest.
"As soon as we get the DNA match, you get the money," said John Nesby with the Fraternal Order of Police, which kicked in $5,000.
"You could be paid by Christmas."
In recent weeks, three women have been sexually assaulted, strangled and their bodies found in vacant lots. Three other women have been attacked. The first two murders are connected by DNA and results should be back in the next couple of days to tell police whether the third murder is connected.
Philly police have "an enormous amount of physical evidence" according to Deputy Commissioner William Blackburn. They have swabbed 154 people in the Kensington area and excluded 45 of them. The DNA of 100-plus people are in various stages of genetic testing. In addition, more than 120 johns and prostitutes have been arrested in the neighborhood since November 19.
"If you're out there and you're harboring this individual, we're going to come after you," District Attorney Seth Williams warned.
Commissioner Charles Ramsey thanked citizens and also warned them, "We will not tolerate anyone taking vigilante actions." On Monday, someone posted the wrong picture and wrong name on a Facebook page, leading people to believe that another man in the neighborhood could be connected to the case.
"We had to come to his house to protect him," Ramsey said.
Police put out a list of contact information for people who may need help or who may have information.
- Homicide Unit: 215-686-3335/3336
- Special Victims Unit: 215-685-3251
- Police Tip Line: 215-686-8477 (TIPS)
- Online: www.phillypolice.com
John Appledorn with the Citizen's Crime Commission asked the Kensington Strangler to turn himself in:
"We have a nice warm cell for you and that's better than the way you left your victims."