Three assaults in three days

June 27, 2008 9:52:41 AM PDT
There have been three assaults in three days in the same general area in North Philadelphia. There's big trouble in the 39th District on the city's north side.

All three of the sexual attacks took place after midnight and the victims were women who lived alone.

The latest incident was 2:15 a.m. Thursday in the 1500 block of West Indiana Avenue. A 19-year-old female was startled in her room when she found an unknown man standing by her bed fondling her.

"When she awoke, the male didn't make any comments to her, immediately left the location," Captain John Darby of the Philadelphia Police said.

This followed an attack at 1:00 a.m. Wednesday on the 2700 block of West Allegheny. A 20-year-old woman was attacked when she entered her rowhouse apartment building; she forced into her first floor apartment, raped, and robbed. Three suspects were involved.

The first incident was at 26 and Allegheny, Tuesday morning about 1:15, only four blocks from the West Allegheny attack and 11 blocks from the third. A 48-year-old woman awoke in her second floor bedroom to find her assailant armed with a knife. She was sexually assaulted before she fought him off. She remains hospitalized with wounds to the neck, arms, and hand.

"By our first look in the investigations, the cases do not appear at this time to be related, however, we can not conclude that there is not some common thread, that we have not identified," Darby said.

Police want the public's help in capturing 23-year-old Lionel Rivera of Northeast Philadelphia. Through DNA testing, police say they're sure he was the attacker last August at C and Roosevelt Boulevard SEPTA stop. He's the man they believe approached an 18-year-old woman headed to work.

At this hour, police believe Rivera is hiding out somewhere in Northeast Philadelphia. If you see him contact police at 215-686-TIPS.