Police interviewing two in Rittenhouse Sq. assault

A composite sketch released by police of the suspect, a 23- to 30-year-old Hispanic/Mexican man.
A composite sketch released by police of the suspect, a 23- to 30-year-old Hispanic/Mexican man.
Posted: June 25, 2014

Philadelphia police were interviewing at least two people Monday night as part of the investigation into the sexual assault of a Rittenhouse Square woman early Saturday, sources said.

The woman, 26, was returning home from Ladder 15, a restaurant and bar at 15th and Sansom Streets, about 1:20 a.m. Saturday when she was approached from behind by a man.

Capt. John Darby of the Special Victims Unit said the man was riding a bike and possibly following the victim as she walked to her apartment on the 1900 block of Spruce Street.

Police located one video that shows the man locking his bike to a pole on Spruce, then falling into step with the woman as she walks past.

"He goes right up to her from behind and strong-arms her up the block," Darby said.

The man then forced the woman into her building and upstairs to her apartment, and sexually assaulted her, Darby said.

Police believe the man stole the woman's keys and cellphone before leaving the apartment. He then turned around and went back in, Darby said, possibly because he had left the messenger bag he had been carrying in the victim's apartment.

Once inside, Darby said, the man might have sexually assaulted the woman a second time.

"We believe that there's a possibility that there are several assaults that took place," Darby said. "This guy is pretty dangerous. It shows the boldness of his actions. He forces this woman into an unknown property where at any point someone could confront him."

Darby said police believe the man fled west on Spruce, then south on 20th Street. Investigators do not believe the man was carrying a weapon, Darby added.

Police were following leads and searching for additional surveillance footage Monday.

A composite sketch of the suspect, released Monday, describes the suspect as Hispanic/Mexican, 23 to 30 years old, standing between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-9, and weighing about 150 pounds.

He is clean-shaven, with a thin build and slicked-back black hair, and at the time of the assault was wearing a black T-shirt, dark blue jeans, and a black baseball cap, police said. He carried a black messenger bag.

Anyone with information can call the Special Victims Unit at 215-685-3251, or the police tip line at 215-686-TIPS.


awhelan@philly.com

215-854-2961 @aubreyjwhelan

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