Person of interest being questioned in violent Overbrook robberies; victims speak out

OVERBROOK - January 30, 2014

Police say the 15-year-old person of interest was in possession of one of the victim's cell phones.

Action News was there as he was brought into police headquarters late Wednesday night. The person of interest would not comment to reporters.

He's currently being held on charges of receiving stolen property. But so far, police can't pin the violent robberies on him... at least not yet.

He fits the general description - over 6 feet tall with a thin build.

The teenager lives with his grandmother. Police are looking at the cutlery in her house to see if it matches the kitchen knife recovered at a crime scene when one of the victims resisted the attacker, who always sneaks up on the women from behind.

The most recent incident happened Wednesday morning.

Police say a 28-year-old woman was walking to a bus stop in the 7500 block of Lansdowne Avenue at 6:27 a.m. when a man approached her from behind and tried to take the purse off her shoulder.

The woman resisted, police said, and the man tackled her, put a knife to her neck, and said "give me the bag before I stab you." The suspect then grabbed the purse and ran away.

On Wednesday evening, Action News spoke with 60-year-old Barbara Tucker who was the victim of an earlier attack.

It was around 8:00 p.m. on January 13th that Tucker was walking to her home in the 7600 block of Brockton Road when the assailant came up and startled her.

"He came up from behind and grabbed me around the neck and whispered in my ear, 'if you move, I'll shoot you,'" Tucker said.

After hearing that chilling statement, Tucker thought she was a goner.

"He dragged me around the parking lot and left me laying on the ground and ran off with everything that I had," Tucker said.

After the assailant ran off with $100 in cash, her Kindle, her keys, everything she had in her bag, Tucker ran for the door frantically banging on it asking someone to let her in.

Brenda Roberson was attacked on January 24th at 8:50 a.m. near 75th and Lansdowne.

"As I was walking, all of a sudden someone tackled me. I went forward on my hands and he grabbed my bag," Roberson said, adding, "It happened so quickly I think I was just moving on adrenaline. it wasn't until later that it hit me what happened."

At 7:15 a.m. that same day, police say a 51-year-old woman was dropping off her grandchildren in the 6700 block of Lansdowne Avenue when she was approached by a man with a knife. The man said, "You don't want anything to happen to these kids," she told police, while grabbing at her bag.

Police say the man lunged at her - and the children - so the victim let the bag go and the man fled through a playground and into the woods.

At 7:19 p.m. on January 21st in the 7500 block of Malvern Avenue, police say a 35-year-old woman was carrying groceries into her house when she was approached from behind by a man with a knife.

She dropped her purse and ran into the house as the suspect grabbed the purse and ran away.

Police say the suspect is a black male between the ages of 16 and 19, about 6'1 tall, thin build, and wears a dark colored hooded sweatshirt.

"He's a coward because he just continues to attack women, he attacks them from behind and using a knife to do that is just unacceptable," Lt. Johnny Walker of the Philadelphia Police Department said.

"The male continues to run into the wooded area which abuts the Cobbs Creek golf course up in that area," Walker said.

The details of the sixth incident have not been released.

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

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