By Jenn Bernstein and Natasha Brown
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – SEPTA Transit Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who assaulted and robbed an 87-year-old man in an elevator.
It happened on July 2nd at the Church Street El Station in Frankford, a little after 9 p.m. The video shows a younger man, about six feet tall, according to police, get in the elevator with the victim as they rode up to the train platform from the street level.
As soon as the door opens, the suspect can be seen pushing the man against the wall, and holding his throat, as he rifles through the victim’s pockets. Police say the attacker took the man’s wallet, ID, and $500.
The victim remained in the elevator another few seconds with the attacker, as the elevator rode back down to street level, and then the suspect escaped. The victim suffered minor injuries.
“It was several minutes, very frightening minutes for this gentleman,” said SEPTA Spokeswoman Jerri Williams. “We want to make sure we get this guy off the streets.”
SEPTA police want people to pay attention to the attacker in the video, in hopes someone can help identify him. “We want people to take a closer look at this video, a close look at this guy’s picture, and if anyone knows him, sees him, has any idea where he is, we want to know,” said Williams.
Eyewitness News spoke with several frequent passengers who say they generally don’t ride this train past 8 o’clock at night.
“I usually only take it in the morning,” said Wadiya Korpoi. When asked why she doesn’t take it at night, Korpoi said, “It’s too risky.”
Williams says SEPTA does everything possible to keep passengers safe – there are regular patrols, and the surveillance cameras help solve crimes if they happen.
“We’ve had tremendous success and people coming to us when we put out a picture, being able to identify and locate these individuals,” said Williams. “In this case, we really want to do that.”
Avery Morris works at Nicky G’s Pizza across the street from the station. She says the victim is a regular customer, and she says he had just left their shop before he was attacked.
“He comes in once a week,” said Morris. “He orders the same thing every time he comes in – the cheesesteak with mayonnaise and ketchup. He asks you how your day is.” Morris can’t believe someone would want to hurt him.
“In this neighborhood it happens every day,” said Morris. “It’s ridiculous. That poor guy.”
SEPTA is asking you to call detectives if you recognize the attacker at 215-580-3486. If you see the assailant you are asked to immediately call 911.