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Police Search For Suspected Serial Predator In Juniata Park; Victim Speaks Out

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By Walt Hunter, Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The search continues for a serial predator in the Juniata Park area.

In the past five days, there has been one rape and two attempted abductions in the area.

CBS 3 first showed you the dramatic surveillance video that captured a woman’s terrifying encounter. On Tuesday night, the victim shared her story with Eyewitness News, and for her protection, we are not identifying her.

“My first instinct was, I need to get away. I can’t let him take me.”

The word brave does not begin to describe the victim, who can be seen in the video being ambushed by her attacker. She says that she was dragged across the street at gunpoint, and she remembers clinging onto a dumpster, begging for her life.

“He didn’t want to let go, and he told me to not to run, not to scream, and then he pulled out the gun and he pointed it at my ribs. I was scared. I begged him, ‘Do you want anything? I can give you whatever,’ and he said, ‘I don’t want anything.’ He just kept smiling and smirking at me. I was shaking, I was crying. I was able to get away, so thank God for that.”

Police say this attempted rape is the third attack in a three-block radius since Thursday. In each case, the victim was dragged off the street down a driveway. First, there was a rape on Thursday at 6:30 a.m. the 1400 block of East Lycoming. Five hours later, there was the attempted rape caught on camera in the 4200 block of O Street. And finally, there was another attempt 50 yards away in the 4200 block of Neilson Street around 7:15 a.m.

“It is horrible because…I lived in this neighborhood forever, and for it to be in our neighborhood, in broad daylight,” neighbor Samantha Vargas said.

Neighbors frightened by the attacks hope the rapist, who police believe may drive a white car and stalking his victims before getting out on foot, will be caught soon.

“I hope they do find the person that is out there trying to hurt innocent people out here. We’re just trying to live, like everybody else is doing, and we just need to stop the violence,” neighbor Arily Monserrat said.

On Tuesday, police released a composite sketch of the suspect, who is described as a black male in his late 20s to early 30s, 5’8”-5’10” with a thin build and a gap in between his front teeth.

An investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Philadelphia Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at (215) 685-3264/3253.

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