Police hunt for attacker after gunpoint rape at SEPTA station

Broad Street Line rape
Surveillance images show suspect in Monday’s assault at Snyder station.
Philadelphia police

Authorities are attempting to identify a man who allegedly raped a 40-year-old woman at gunpoint early Monday morning inside a Broad Street Line station in South Philadelphia.

The suspect directed his gun at the victim’s boyfriend as he committed the assault, which occurred at around 4:30 a.m. on the platform at the Snyder Avenue stop, said Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit Capt. James Kearney.

Before the attack, the woman had been trying on clothes recently purchased by the boyfriend, Kearney said. They had been alone, with the first train of the day not scheduled to arrive until about 4:45 a.m.

Kearney said the suspect and boyfriend had a brief exchange before the attacker pulled out a black handgun with a green extended magazine and demanded sex.

The gunman, who had brought a bicycle onto the platform, fled following the rape and was last seen riding north on Broad Street, Kearney said.

Kearney told reporters he does not think the woman and her boyfriend are homeless, and he said it does not appear either knew the attacker.

Investigators released surveillance images of the suspect Monday, and Kearney said detectives recovered DNA evidence at the scene.

Special Victims Unit Capt. James KearneyMetro file

In the photographs, the man, thought to be in his 20s, is seen wearing a gray NASA hooded sweatshirt, and police described him as being around 5-feet 6-inches tall; weighing 160 pounds; and having light brown or green eyes.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact SVU at 215-685-3251/3252; call or text 215-686-8477; or go to www.phillypolice.com/forms/submit-a-tip.

The rape is the latest in a string of high-profile crimes related to public transportation.

Last week, a 19-year-old man was wounded in a lunchtime shooting at the Market-Frankford Line’s 15th Street Station, and Derrick Jones, 21, was charged with killing three men in two separate incidents in West Oak Lane. He and his victims had exited SEPTA buses just prior to the shootings.

“We certainly know our riders have concerns about safety and security on the system,” SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch told Metro. “We know people are seeing things and experiencing problems, and we want to address it as best we can.”

Busch indicated that SEPTA is working on a plan to make transit police officers and other security personnel more visible on BSL and MFL vehicles and stations.

SEPTA, he added, is also attempting to recruit more candidates to its police force. Though budgeted for 260 officers, the transit police department currently has 212, according to Busch.

In an attempt to attract and retain law enforcement, SEPTA last month raised the starting pay for officers by about $10,000, to $56,507, and shortened the process for seniority-based pay increases.

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