What to Know
- Philadelphia police call the suspect in a string of sex assaults in West Philly, "bold."
- The armed attacks and robberies took place early in the morning in or near Fairmount Park.
- Surveillance video appears to show the suspect holding a gun before approaching two women who had stopped to pump gasoline.
Philadelphia police are warning people to be on the lookout for suspect in recent armed sexual assaults and robberies in West Philadelphia that followed similar patterns even as his appearance changed.
Police released surveillance video Monday from one incident in hopes of tracking down the suspect in the "very serious and disturbing crimes," Police. Capt. Sekou Kinebrew said.
The first incident happened Tuesday (July 17) around 5:45 a.m. when a bearded man in his 40s wearing a hoodie approached a woman shortly after she got off a bus near Belmont and Parkside avenues and pulled a gun on the woman, Philadelphia police said.
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The gunman then forced the woman into a more secluded part of Fairmount Park where he forced her to partially disrobe, sexually assaulted her and robbed her of her Beats headphones and iPhone, investigators said.
Two days later, around 4:20 a.m., a man in his 40s wearing a hoodie, but this time clean shaven, approached a woman as she pumped gas at Lancaster and West Girard avenues and pushed a gun into her side.
The gunman forced the woman into her car, where another woman was already inside. He then forced both women to drive to an unknown secluded area where he forced both women to partially undress then sexually assaulted them, investigators said. The man took about $420 in cash from the women before fleeing, police said.
Surveillance video shows the man, gun apparently in hand, approach the car at the gas station.
Kinebrew said both sex assaults followed "an emerging pattern" and happened near the park. The suspect in both instances appeared to be about 6-feet tall and weighs around 175 pounds.
“This person is… very bold,” Kinebrew said.
Police are also looking at two previous armed robberies between June 21 and June 28 in Fairmount Park that may be connected to the same suspect.
Police said anyone who recognizes the man shouldn’t approach him and should call 911 immediately.
Police have increased patrols in the area as they look for the suspect, Kinebrew said.