A 71-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and beaten by a man who broke into her Philadelphia home in broad daylight, police said.
The man first demanded money from the victim and, when she offered jewelry instead of money, repeatedly punched her in the head and back, as well as choked her, Philadelphia Police Department Capt. James Kearney said Friday. That’s when he allegedly forced her to take off her clothes and proceeded to sexually assault her.
The suspect entered through the unlocked front door of the victim’s house on the 7400 block of Devon Street in the East Mount Airy neighborhood around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, the PPD said. At the time, he was screaming for help, which Kearny said was a "ruse" to enable him to commit the crime.
The man dragged the woman up and down the stairs as he beat her, then he sexually assaulted her on the second floor, Kearny said. She eventually managed to fight him off.
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“He repeatedly told her she was going to kill her, and she told my investigators that she is a strong woman who will survive, and she did. She has my respect, and today I think she’s a hero," Kearny said.
After the assault, the man fled in the victim’s gray 2014 Toyota Corolla with her cellphone and credit cards, according to police. The car has a Pennsylvania license plate with the number JVK-8711.
The suspect is described as a Black man between 17 and 24 years old and standing around 5 feet, 5 inches tall. Police said he had short, black hair and was wearing army green pants and a white t-shirt with charcoal writing.
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Hours later, another woman reported a sexual assault miles away in the Rittenhouse Square portion of the city, though the suspect in that case was described differently than the suspect in the East Mount Airy case.
“It’s disturbing. I get worked up over it,” an emotional Kearny said. “It’s disturbing. People go about their daily lives and to be interrupted with a traumatic incident like this is concerning. So, we need the help. We need people to come up and step forward and be this great city that I know it is.”
Resources for victims of sexual assault are available through the National Sexual Violence Resources Center and the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-4673.