Neighborhood on lookout for Center City attacker

CENTER CITY - November 21, 2013

Karen Adams and members of the Washington Square West Town Watch were out on patrol Thursday night in the area where the assault happened.

They were armed with walkie-talkies, ready to report suspicious activity and alert those who were unaware about what happened.

"We find a lot of women, young women especially, who are on their phones while they're walking and unaware of their surroundings," Adams said.

Philadelphia police have also beefed up their patrols on bike, foot, and cruisers, combing through the heart of Center City's bar district.

"We also have some undercover plainclothes officers that are assigned to the area that are working the area along with the Special Victims Unit," Philadelphia Police Captain Brian Korn said.

It was last Thursday at around 11:00 p.m. that the 29-year-old victim, a woman who just moved here from Minnesota, was at the Tabu nightclub at 200 South 12th Street when she went out to put money in the parking meter.

She walked down an alley towards where her car was parked at 13th and St. James when suddenly a man yelled, "Hey!"

Police say she turned around to see a well-dressed black man in a blue button-down shirt, khaki pants, with long braided hair, who suddenly grabbed her, pulled her into a dark area and sexually and physically assaulted her.

Police additionally describe the assailant as about 5'8 to 5' 9, clean shaven. He also had a silver chain with a cross on it. The victim says he also had a small tattoo on his neck.

Authorities say some of these alleys, especially late at night, can be a haven for predators looking for victims. They are urging women walking alone to avoid them.

"Our suggestion is stick to the main streets even if it means an extra block down. Stick to the main streets where there's lights and there's other people around. It's always better at night to having somebody with you especially from the bars where you might have had a drink or two," Korn said.

Anyone with information relating to this case is asked to contact Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS (8477), text a tip to PPD TIP (773847) or through

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