Man charged with rape, robbery in Center City concourse
A man is facing rape and robbery charges after he allegedly attacked a woman who was trying to catch a SEPTA train in Center City.
It is unclear where exactly the attack happened, and SEPTA disputes that the assault occurred in the transit system.
Philadelphia police say 42-year-old Rafiq Smith assaulted a 54-year-old woman who was trying to catch a subway train at 15th and Market Streets.
According to SEPTA, the pair entered the 15th Street Station for the Market-Frankford Line together at about 10:30 p.m.
The cashier denied them entry. Surveillance video shows the two leaving the area and walking toward Suburban Station; the transit agency says it doesn't believe the pair ever paid to enter a train platform area.
At some point, police said, Smith grabbed the woman, pushed her to the ground, and took her cell phone and $87. He then sexually assaulted her, police said.
The woman went to the station at 12th and Market streets alone at about 11:45 p.m. and reported the attack, SEPTA said.
The transit agency said in a statement that the "actual location of the alleged attack has not been determined but it did not occur on the SEPTA transit system."
SEPTA police arrested Smith based on the victim's description and items she said her assailant had stolen, SEPTA spokeswoman Heather Redfern said.
He was taken into custody in the concourse near the Walnut-Locust station.
SEPTA has asked Philadelphia police to correct a news release the department distributed saying the assault happened at 15th and Market streets station. Police, though, weren't backing off from that location this afternoon.
"That's what we have on our paperwork," a police spokeswoman said.
Smith, of Philadelphia's Belfield section, has been charged with rape, robbery, sexual assault, theft, simple assault and other offenses.