He preyed on his victims by luring them with a simple question: could he borrow their cell phones?

Then he would rob them of their belongings and sexually assault them, before taking off, police said.

Even more disturbing, police said yesterday, is that the offender they arrested in connection with a string of robberies and sexual assaults right on the border of Temple University's main campus is only 14. A second person was brought in for questioning last night but was not arrested, officials said.

"Even though he is a juvenile, he is committing adult crimes, and I think that if you go back to the victims I don't think they would care what the age of the offender is," said Special Victims Unit Capt. John Darby.

Darby said the teen they arrested has been charged with only two of the attacks - the most recent one on Carlisle Street near Diamond on Feb. 12, and the first one on Fontain Street near 17th on Feb. 3.

Darby said the youth had previous contact with police but would not elaborate.

In the first attack the youth approached a 21-year-old student and asked if he could use her cell phone, police said.

Then he allegedly pushed her to the ground, unzipped his pants and pressed his groin against her head.

He tried to snatch her purse but only was able to grab her cell phone, police said.

In the second incident, police said, he approached a 19-year-old student and asked to borrow her cell phone. She refused. He grabbed for her phone and asked her numerous times for a hug.

He pulled her towards him, embracing her, before making off with the cell phone.

Darby commented on the investigation that led to the arrest: "It was aggressive and motivated and the detectives did a fantastic job."

The boy, who is now in juvenile custody, has been charged with one count of attempted deviate sexual intercourse, two counts of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, indecent assault, robbery and theft. *

Staff writer Diana Huynh contributed to this article.