Suspect sought in Society Hill attacks arrested

July 20, 2011 3:06:49 PM PDT
Philadelphia police say they have arrested the man wanted for a rash of brazen attacks on women in Society Hill.

Willie Wyche, 39, was arrested on Wednesday after turning himself in at police headquarters.

Police say he has been charged with one count of robbery for the incident that occurred on July 10, 2011 in the 700 block of Lombard Street.

He is also under investigation in connection with a number of other robberies in the area.

Wyche has a criminal rap sheet including robbery, indecent assault, terroristic threats, burglary, and attempted rape dating back to 1990.

Police say he was released from prison in May after serving 20 years. Wyce was 18 years old when he went to prison last time and served every single day of this sentence, indicating he was a problem prisoner. Sources say, at one point, Wyche did 400 days in solitary confinement.

"It's our hope, as we move forward, that he does another 20 if not more," said Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bechtel. Investigators say these robberies have mostly taken place on smaller side streets in this general area at all different times of day and night.

The victims range in age from 25 to 73 years old.

Action News talked to the victim of the July 10th attack, Crystal, earlier this week.

"Next thing I knew I had two big huge, burly arms wrapped around my neck," Crystal said.

"I was completely blacked out, I was drug on the ground, I guess, when he was trying to get my purse out. My teeth went through the back of my lip, the front of my lip. My knees were all skinned up and I had bruises all over my arms."

The attacker fled down a narrow street. When he turned the corner onto Addison Street, he was captured on video surveillance as he discarded items from Crystal's purse.

Police later identified that man as Wyche.