Police: Suspect connected to 9 sex assault incidents in South Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Police are searching for a suspect they believe to be connected to at least nine sexual assault incidents in South Philadelphia dating back to last December.

Video obtained by Action News shows the serial attacker as he spots his victim Thursday night on the 400 block of Mifflin Street.

The suspect follows then approaches, gets off his bike and walks with her before assaulting the victim.

The attack, which we're not showing, plays out in full view of the camera and lasts more than three excruciating minutes. The attacker then rides away.

Six hours later, cameras catch a man on a bike again eyeing a victim on the 1900 block of Bancroft Street. Police say he attacked and raped a woman as she opened a restaurant at 5:30 a.m.

Police say the sexual assaults and attempts throughout South Philadelphia date back to Dec. 20. The first took place on the 700 block of South Street.

Police say the suspect rides around South Philadelphia on a bicycle. In some cases, the attacker holds his victim at knife-point. And in one case, police say, he broke into a victim's house and forced his way into her bed.

"It's very alarming for us. The pattern continued even though we had media out there, surveillance photos out there, he didn't stop one bit. He does appear to be riding around on that bike looking for easy opportunities some of the women got out of an Uber and he followed them from there," said Captain Mark Burgmann, with the Philadelphia Police Department.

Burgmann says this suspect will often wait for a lone victim, biking over and approaching them. At times, he strikes up a conversation, asks for a hug and tells the victim she's pretty. Police say he then tries to move closer and attack.

Action News spoke with a neighbor who says she's fed up with hearing about these kinds of crimes.

"I don't think it's on women or survivors to do something different. That's not the behavior that needs to change. The behavior that needs to change is the way we educate our children and or men as we grow up," said Ann MacMullan of South Philadelphia.

Here is a list of the sexual assault incidents reported to the Philadelphia Police Department:

1) 12/20 1:40 a.m.
700 South Street

(The suspect approaches the victim asking, "Can I have a hug?" Then tries to rip at woman's clothing.)

2) 12/28 5:09 a.m.
1300 Morris Street
(Suspect approaches a woman on a bike. She was able to get away.)

3) 12/30
200 Fitzwater Street
(Suspect grabs a woman, attempted to undress her.)

4) 1/5 5:40 a.m.
1900 block of S. 7th Street
(Victim opens door for him. Suspect shows knife asks for money and tries to pull down her pants.)

5) 1/26 12:15 a.m.
600 block S. 16th Street

(Suspect brandishes a knife, stole a purse.)

6) 2/4 2:20 a.m.
900 S. 10th Street
(Suspect sneaks into a home.)

7) 2/21 11:26 p.m.
700 Kater Street
(Suspect attempts sexual assault but woman calls 911.)

8) 2/22 5:30 a.m.
1900 Bancroft Street
(Suspect rapes victim as she was opening her restaurant.)

Anyone with any information is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS.

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A serial attacker is being sought in South Philly. Maggie Kent has more on Action News at 11 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2019.

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