Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Man arrested in Center City concourse rape

Police arrested an East Germantown man on rape and related charges after he allegedly attacked a woman late Wednesday in an underground city concourse after she tried to catch a train.

Man arrested in Center City concourse rape

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Rafiq Smith, arrested in concourse rape
Rafiq Smith, arrested in concourse rape

Police arrested an East Germantown man on rape and related charges after he allegedly attacked a woman late Wednesday in an underground Center City concourse after she tried to catch a train.

The 54-year-old victim had left a restaurant at 9th and Walnut streets when she entered the underground concourse area, police said. A SEPTA cashier denied her entry to the Frankford-Market Line at 15th and Market streets for an unknown reason about 10:30 p.m., SEPTA spokeswoman Jerri Williams said. SEPTA cops and cashiers are permitted to bar would-be customers from train platforms for safety reasons if they appear to be inebriated, and surveillance video shows the woman walking unsteadily with a man supporting her, Williams added. Cameras caught the pair then walking through the underground concourse toward Suburban Station.

At some point before midnight, the woman later told police, the man pushed her to the ground, stole her cellphone and $87 in cash and sexually assaulted her in a dark tunnel near stairs. Authorities haven't pinpointed the exact location of the alleged attack. After the woman reported being assaulted, officers discovered a suspect matching her description in the concourse between Walnut and Locust streets, Williams said. Police say the victim didn't know her attacker, who was the man supporting her as she tried to catch a train.

Police arrested Rafiq Smith, 42, of Ogontz Avenue near Olney, and charged him with rape, robbery and related offenses. Smith allegedly had the victim's cellphone and cash in his possession when he was arrested, police said.

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Philly Confidential, which covers crime in Philadelphia and the suburbs, is written by Daily News staffers Dana DiFilippo, Stephanie Farr and Vinny Vella.

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