Man in custody in Germantown teen sex assaults

Police are questioning a man in connection with four armed sexual assaults of teenage girls in Germantown.

  • The victims of the attacks ranged in age from 12 to 17 years old.
  • Police released video footage of the attacker riding a bicycle before a May 19 attack on a 15-year-old girl.

Police have a suspect in custody in connection with four armed sexual assaults of teenage girls in Germantown.

Authorities are expected to file charges against the man, who was questioned overnight, said Officer Jillian Russell, a Philadelphia police spokeswoman.

The man's name was not immediately released. Russell said she didn't know what the charges against the suspect would be.

The victims of the attacks, which happened between March 17 and last weekend, ranged in age from 12 to 17 years old. Police distributed surveillance video of the gunman earlier this week in an effort to solicit tips.

The assailant used a handgun in all four attacks.

Television news stations reported that police executed a search warrant overnight on the 1100 block of East Price Street, near the location of one of the sexual assaults. Investigators took a mountain bike from the scene, 6ABC and NBC Philadelphia report.

The video footage police released showed the attacker riding a bicycle while wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt just before a May 19 attack on a 15-year-old girl on the 600 block of East Wister Street.

It wasn't immediately clear what led investigators to the house overnight.

The man's mother told Fox29 that police have the wrong person and her son was targeted by a "paranoid neighbor."

"He's not even the height of that boy," she said, saying she had seen the surveillance video. "Anybody that knows me knows, if I thought that was my child, I would turn him in myself."

The first attack happened when a 12-year-old girl waiting for the bus to go to school was assaulted the morning of March 17 near Anderson and East Price streets.

Then, on April 23, a 17-year-old girl was assaulted on the 900 block of East Chelten Avenue on April 23. And on Sunday, another 17-year-old was forced into the entry way of the Morris Estate Recreation Center, where she was sexually assaulted.

Detectives believe the same man is responsible for all four attacks, based on victims' descriptions of the man and his threats. The attacks have put the neighborhood on edge.

Police have described the suspect as a black man in his 20s or 30s and 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall. He used a hooded sweatshirt or ski mask to hide his face during the assaults.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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