This story originally appeared on NBC10.
Philadelphia police said Wednesday that they arrested a man suspected of raping a woman inside the Center City Macy’s store over the weekend.
The man was taken into custody at his West Philadelphia home, police Sgt. Eric Gripp said in an email. Police didn’t name the man and said they expect to charge him alter Wednesday morning.
More details are expected to come later in the day.
The incident occurred Sunday around 11:30 a.m. at the Macy’s on 1300 Walnut Street.
The 55-year-old woman was shopping with her husband when she went to the third floor of the store to use the bathroom. That’s where she was attacked and sexually assaulted by an unidentified man who was holding 12-inch cooking skewers in his hand, according to investigators. The suspect then fled the scene.
“When she went inside the bathroom he was in the stall,” Philadelphia Police SVU Capt. Mark Burgmann said earlier this week. “He jumped over the stall into her stall.”
Officials said no one heard anything until the woman came out of the bathroom and called police.
The suspect, who police believe had waited inside the bathroom for up to 20 minutes before the attack, left the store on foot and boarded a SEPTA Market Frankford Line train at 13th and Market streets around 11:45 a.m. He then exited the SEPTA station at 52nd and Market streets at 11:54 a.m. Sunday.
“He has a distinct walk, I thought,” Capt. Burgmann said. “You can see that from behind. We kind of thought somebody may recognize him.”
On Tuesday, Philadelphia police released additional surveillance video and photos of the suspect entering and leaving a store in the area of 52nd and Girard Avenue after the assault.
A spokesperson for the Center City Macy’s told NBC10 they are “shocked” and “saddened” by the incident and are increasing their security measures as a result.
“The safety of our customers and colleagues is our top priority and we are putting measures in place to deter criminal activity and ensure our customers and colleagues can safely enjoy their shopping experience,” the spokesperson wrote.
“In response to this assault, we have added visual security presence outside of the restroom area and are considering additional security measures that can be implemented over the long term. Additionally, visible day porter housekeeping coverage for both the men’s and women’s restroom has been added as well as a review and closure of back of house areas restricted to the public.”
The suspect is described as a thin man in his 20’s. He was last seen wearing a surgical mask, black hoody, black pants with white stripes on the left leg, black sneakers with white around the sole, three-quarter length jacket with a hood and white writing on the left shoulder with possibly four buttons on each sleeve.
If you have any information on the man’s whereabouts or identity, please call the Philadelphia Police Special Victim’s Unit at 215-685-3252, or use this electronic form to submit a tip anonymously.
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