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SEPTA riders concerned for safety after man wanted for sexually assaulting 2 women on Broad Street Line

By Howard Monroe

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    PHILADELPHIA (KYW) — Philadelphia police are searching for a man after two sexual assaults on SEPTA’s Broad Street Line. Police say the assaults happened within 15 minutes of each other and were likely by the same person.

“It’s scary and disappointing,” SEPTA rider Taylor Williams said.

The assaults happened Monday night. The first assault happened at about 11:30 p.m. on a train from City Hall to the Synder Avenue Station where a woman reported being groped. The second happened at about 11:45 p.m. on the platform at the Tasker/Morris stop where a woman reported being forcibly kissed after a brief interaction.

“There’s an element of who is supposed to be protecting us,” SEPTA rider Claire Brennan said, “and as a woman traveling, there’s always that fear in the back of your head.”

Police released surveillance video of the suspect on the stations’ platforms. They say he’s a male in his early 20s, approximately 5-foot-7 with a thin build and was wearing a sweatshirt with the band “Queen” on the back, black shorts with the Under Armour symbol on the right thigh and black running sneakers.

Police say it’s urgent that if you see him, to call police.

“The concern is always that there’s escalation,” Philadelphia Police Lt. John Hewitt said. “That is an indecent assault incident at this time, but it could easily turn into a violent sexual attack. We want to get this guy off the street as quickly as possible.”

But now riders say they’re second-guessing using the transit system.

“I choose not to drive my car because I hate parking, so I take SEPTA,” SEPTA rider Janet Silverstein said. “I need to rethink that.”

CBS Philadelphia reached out to SEPTA to see if they plan to increase police patrols, but we haven’t yet heard back.

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