Police: Rash of burglaries and sexual assault in East Falls and Germantown may be linked

The Philadelphia Police Department’s 39th District released a crime bulletin on Thursday suggesting a link between a recent rape and several breaks-ins in East Falls and Germantown.

Four unauthorized entries and a sexual assault – each with a similar modus operandi – occurred within a time period of less than two weeks. All five crimes took place inside a one-mile radius of the 39th District’s Police Service Area-1.

On May 25 at approximately 3 a.m., a female resident of 5200 Wayne Ave. reported that an unknown male entered her first floor apartment through a window and both raped and sodomized her.

According to police reports, the alleged rapist put a shirt over the victim’s head, covered her mouth with his hand and held a knife to her neck. Before leaving, the attacker asked where the victim kept money. None was taken.

The victim was treated for her injuries at Hahnemann University Hospital in Center City. Police reports suggest that the attacker left body fluids at the crime scene.

That same night on the same block, a male complainant reported that between the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. someone entered his apartment through a screen window and stole a cell phone and $40 in cash. A cinder block was said to be outside of the window, presumably used by the thief to assist in entering the residence.

Three days later, a married couple living on the 2800 block of Midvale Ave. told police that at approximately 3 a.m., an unknown male broke the glass of their front door and entered the residence while they were sleeping. The female complainant stated that the prowler opened the bedroom door. She screamed, and the intruder – described as being a 5’9″ male in his 20s, possibly Hispanic, with a light complexion and thin build – fled in an unknown direction.

More attempted break-ins

The two other break-ins bear a similar signature.

On May 15 at 3 p.m., a female resident of the 5000 block of Erringer Place reported that she was asleep in her bedroom when she heard her front door knob being turned. She awoke, and saw the offender inside her apartment doorway. The complainant chased the offender – described as a six-foot tall male with a thin mustache and medium brown complexion, wearing a blue hoodie and a lime green shirt – into an adjacent parking lot, where he was last seen escaping northbound.

The following day at approximately 9:45 p.m., a female resident of the 3100 block of W. Penn St. told police she was in her kitchen whe she heard someone open her screen door and turn the knob of her entry door. She walked around the counter and saw a black male with dark complexion and dark clothing attempting to enter through the locked door. No entry was gained, and the prowler fled eastbound on W. Penn St.

In light of the similarity of these crimes, 39th District personnel recommend precautionary measures including locking all doors, securing windows and keeping exterior lights on at night. In the event of suspicious activity, dial 911 immediately.

Anyone with information about the crimes is encouraged to contact Northwest Detectives at 215-686-3353 or send a tip to the PPD’s text tip line at PPD TIP (773847).

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