What to Know
- A person of interest is now in custody in connection to a series of sex assaults targeting women in South Philadelphia.
- The person, who has not yet been identified, was taken into custody Monday afternoon. No charges have been filed.
- Police say a male suspect assaulted nearly 10 women in the last two months, with one attack resulting in rape.
Update: Police have charged a South Philadelphia man who works for the city in at least four of the sexual assaults.
A person of interest is now in custody in connection to a series of sex assaults targeting women in South Philadelphia.
The person, who has not yet been identified, was taken into custody Monday afternoon. No charges have been filed at this time however.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Police say a male suspect assaulted nearly 10 women in the last two months, with one attack resulting in rape. On Friday, police said they had received eight reports. By Saturday, another woman came forward, bringing the total number of victims to at least nine.
"Almost all of our victims were accosted by this gentleman as they were trying to enter either their apartment or a business. So the M.O. is exactly the same," Philadelphia Police Department Capt. Mark Burgman said.
While most of the attacks have been deemed attempted sexual assaults or indecent assaults, the most recent resulted in rape, Burgman said at a Friday evening news conference held to discuss the spate of attacks. The captain said a woman was opening a business around 5 a.m. Friday on the 1900 block of South Bancoft Street when the man pulled a knife on her, pushed her inside and then raped her.
The ninth victim, a 33-year-old woman, came forward Saturday after the department's news conference.
She told police that she was trying to enter her apartment Thursday around 11:30 p.m. on the 400 block of Mifflin Street when a man rode up behind her on his bike, grabbed her by the waist, assaulted her and took off with $50 and her bag, PPD spokeswoman Tanya Little said.
The woman's description of her alleged attacker matches the one of the man who police believe is responsible for the other sexual assaults in the area.
Police say the suspect is between 30 and 50 years old, usually wears dark clothes, rides up behind victims on his bike and pulls a knife on them.
Police first put out an alert about the suspect in January. At that time, he had allegedly assaulted three women in a 10-day period.
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who represents South Philadelphia, issued a statement Saturday urging residents who might have any information to reach out to police.
"Women in South Philadelphia should not have to be stressed over their safety when leaving or returning to their homes alone, and locking their doors in fear at night, because a serial predator has not been caught," he said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the PPD's Special Victims Unit at 215-685-3251/3252.