Two high schoolers returning home at night after work days apart were raped after stepping off the bus at the same Northeast Philadelphia SEPTA stop. SVU investigators believe the same man committed both sex assaults.
Philadelphia police released an image and information about the two sexual assaults and robberies that took place after an 18-year-old woman and 16-year-old girl got off SEPTA’s Route 14 bus along Roosevelt Boulevard near Levick Street and Bustleton Avenue in the Oxford Circle neighborhood.
"We believe it is absolutely committed by the same offender," police Special Victims Unit Capt. Mark Burgmann said.
The 18-year-old had just gotten off the bus and was walking along the 1200 block of Levick Street shortly after midnight on Tuesday, Oct. 15, when a man wearing a hoodie came up behind her and her in a chokehold, Burgmann said. The man led her to a nearby driveway off Elbridge Street where he sexually assaulted the woman.
Then man then ran off with the woman’s phone and fled through the driveway, police said.
Then on Sunday night around 10:30, a 16-year-old girl was approached by a man from behind as she walked south on Roosevelt Boulevard and had her jacket pulled over her face and put her in a chokehold, Burgmann said. The man then pulled her into an alleyway behind an apartment building, told her not to make a noise and raped the girl.
The man then took the girl’s phone and ran off, investigators said.
The Special Victims Unit linked the attacks “based on modus operandi, description of offender and geographical proximity of the assaults,” police said in a news release Tuesday.
Surveillance images released by police doesn’t show specific facial details of the attacker who police describe as being in his 20s, standing around 5-feet, 8-inches tall.
In neither case, which police originally said happened nearly one week apart rather than nearly six days apart, did the victims think the man was riding the Route 14 bus, but police said they are working with SEPTA to see if he may have been on the bus.
The working assumption is that the women were followed from the bus stop, Burgmann said.
Police urged anyone who spots the attacker to call 911 immediately. Anyone with information is urged to call (215-686-8477) and/or text (773847) police. Tips can also be submitted online.