Person of interest in custody after rape at South Philly SEPTA station

Police say the person of interest was being taken to the Special Victims Unit on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

Philadelphia police say they have a person of interest in custody in connection to the sexual assault that took place at SEPTA station earlier this week.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia police say they have a person of interest in custody in connection to the sexual assault that took place at SEPTA station earlier this week.

Police say the person of interest was being taken to the Special Victims Unit on Wednesday morning.

They say further information will be released when it becomes available.

It happened around 4:30 a.m. Monday at the platform of the Snyder station on the 2100 block of Broad Street.

The 40-year-old female victim told police she was with a 46-year-old boyfriend at the platform when they were approached by the suspect who was armed with a gun.

Police say the suspect held the gun at the victim's back and then pointed it at the boyfriend. He then proceeded to sexually assault the victim.

"He pointed the gun at the boyfriend and put the gun at the back of our survivor and proceeded to demand sex," said Captain James Kearney with the Philadelphia Police Department.

Police say video shows the boyfriend holding up his hands while the assault was taking place.

After the incident, police say the suspect rode off on a bicycle.

The couple then called 911.

Police released surveillance images of the rape suspect which show him wearing a grey NASA sweatshirt.

The suspect is described as a Black male, in his mid-20s, 5'6", 160 pounds with light brown or hazel eyes. He was also seen wearing black pants, white sneakers and a medical mask.

Police say he was armed with a black handgun with a green slide and an extended magazine.

It has not yet been confirmed if the person of interest in police custody is the suspect seen in the surveillance images.

The victim told police she had been trying on clothes with her boyfriend at the station before the sex assault.

According to police, the suspect and the boyfriend had a brief encounter, along the lines of a short conversation of "hey, what's up," moments before the assault.

Police say the suspect had left the area before returning to the couple and then pulling out his gun.

Detectives say they received numerous tips connecting them to a person of interest, crediting the public's help and clear images from SEPTA's surveillance cameras.

"We hope this serves as a warning to anyone who is thinking about doing anything on SEPTA, that they're going to be seen in video and there's a good chance that we're going to be able to catch them," said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch,

Busch says the system's 30,000 surveillance cameras are the eyes and ears they need while they work to recover from an officer shortage. The transit agency hopes of having more police on the platforms.

"Additional police presence, uniform presence on the system. People are going to start to see that, and we're working very hard to build up the ranks of the police department," said Busch.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Special Victims Unit at 215-685-3251/3252.

In April, a suspect was arrested for raping a woman on the Broad Street Line between the Erie and Girard Avenue stations.

SEPTA released the following statement to Action News on safety and security following the incident:

"SEPTA knows that riders have concerns about safety and security on the system, and we are addressing them. We are working to increase the visibility of police officers on the system and are actively recruiting new candidates to the SEPTA Transit Police Department. Last month, SEPTA reached an agreement with the Fraternal Order of Transit Police on salary increases that will help with efforts to recruit and retain talented officers.

"In addition to traditional policing, SEPTA has added social workers to help connect members of the vulnerable population with housing and medical services. There are also new outreach specialists deployed on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines to reinforce the rules for riding and serve as eyes and ears for SEPTA Police. When there is an incident on the system, police have access to video from more than 28,000 cameras to aid in investigations and identify offenders."