Philadelphia police release picture of priest macing suspect

CENTER CITY - December 20, 2012

The incident happened at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday along the 1100 block of Walnut Street.

Police say the 65-year-old priest was waiting for the SEPTA Route 42 bus after bringing communion to people unable to leave their homes. That's when he tells police a man approached him and sprayed him in the face with some kind of chemical. The suspect then reached into the priest's pocket and ripped out a money clip holding cash, tearing the victim's pants.

The suspect made off with $125, fleeing eastbound on Walnut Street. He is described as a black male, mid to late 30's, 5'9" to 6', with a dark bushy mustache, wearing dark clothing.

After being alerted by a passerby, employees from the nearby Beasley firm ran to help the victim.

"You could see from the mace he was crying, tears were running down his face; his pants were ripped where they took his money clip," attorney Frances Alexander said.

The priest was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he was treated and later released.

If you know the suspect or where he is, you are asked to contact police. To submit a tip by telephone, dial 215-686-TIPS (8477) or text a tip to PPD TIP or 773847.

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