Woman assaulted inside her Center City apt.

July 1, 2008 5:52:10 AM PDT
Philadelphia Police are trying to track down the man accused of sexually assaulting a woman inside her Center City apartment.

News of the attempted rape trickled down the street where it happened, in the 1600 block of Pine Street. It has frightened and infuriated women like Samantha Desposito who always walks home from work with her fiancé.

Desposito tells us, "You do feel helpless because you feel like you're in the middle of the city, and it's very populated, and it's a good area, and you pay so that you can live in the better area."

This violent attack took place at 1:40 Sunday morning. The victim, a 40-year-old woman, was walking back from a party and opening the door to her apartment building when a man suddenly came up behind her, pushed his way inside the building and started choking her right in the foyer.

This attack is at least the fourth in Philadelphia in the past 2 weeks. On June 24th, a 48-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in her bed by a man who stabbed her in the neck. Then, on June 25th, a woman was attacked and bound in her apartment for hours while a group of men attacked her and robbed her home. Police released composite sketches and detailed descriptions for 2 of 3 suspects wanted in that break-in and sexual assault . Then on June 26th, a 19-year-old college student's first floor apartment along Indiana Avenue was invaded around 2:15 a.m. The attacker entered the building through a laundry room window. Police do not believe the attacks involved the same intruder.

Investigators say the attacker in Sunday's reported crime didn't have a weapon, but he did threaten to kill his victim. Sgt. Ray Evers of the Philadelphia Police told reporters the physical assault then turned into a sexual assault.

The woman described her attacker as a physically imposing man, standing 6' 3" to 6' 4", and in his early 20's to mid-30's.

Amazingly, at some point, she was able to stop the sexual assault. Investigators say the attacker ran away and is still on the loose.

Harry Clarke says he worries about his wife walking alone, not only at night but during the day. He says, "Unfortunately there's a lot of bad people that live in the city, and they're looking for targets."

Fon Wong, who has lived in the neighborhood for years, says she's heeding the advice form police and using every safety precaution she can.

"I try to stay on the main streets. If it's really late at night I try to take a cab home and let people know where I am," said Wong.

Police also say when you're walking, especially at night, don't get distracted by listening to music or talking on your cell phone. However, always have your cell phone handy.

At this time police are analyzing DNA evidence and are working on a sketch of the attacker.