PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of a suspect in connection to the rape and robbery of a store employee in South Philadelphia Thursday morning.

“She’s a very strong woman,” Matt Armstrong, the owner, of Bean Exchange in the city’s Bella Vista neighborhood said.

Armstrong talked to Eyewitness News on Friday and explained that his 29-year-old employee has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home.

“She will look within herself and find the person that she is to help her overcome this,” Armstrong said.

According to police, the 29-year-old woman fell victim to a bold and brazen attacker investigators later identified as 32-year-old Christopher Reeves.

The attack occurred shortly after the business opened at 6am Thursday.

Police say Reeves first came into the shop and asked for cash posing as a person in need. Police say Reeves then returned to the shop just minutes later when the victim was alone. Police say that’s when Reeves robbed the victim of $173 and ordered her into the bathroom.

“The male actually made forced entry into that bathroom and then viciously assaulted the victim,” Capt. John Darby with the Philadelphia Police Department said.

Armstrong added, “She is really, at this point, after what has been done to her just thankful and happy to be alive.”

According to court records, Reeves has been in and out of jail since 1998 for various offenses. Currently, Reeves awaiting sentencing for theft-related charges.

“It’s sort of the same old story and that I think is the single most frustrating thing for people,” Greg Pastore, president of the Bella Vista Town Watch said.

“They dropped off flowers all morning and cards and things for them to really let her know that we’re a neighborhood and we’re not going to stand for this,” Armstrong added.

Reeves (pictured above) is described as a thin black male weighing about 180 lbs, about 6’5” and was last seen wearing a yellow sweatshirt. Police say Reeves may currently be nursing an injured left hand.

Capt. Darby explained, “May well be a dog bite injury so that left hand may be wrapped or bandaged in some way.”

A $6,500 reward is being offered in the case.

A total of $4,000 is being offered for the arrest and conviction of the suspect ($2,500 from the U.S. Marshalls; $1,000 from the Bella Vista Town Watch and $500 from the store owner).

The remaining $2,500 is being offered from the Fraternal Order of Police for the suspect’s arrest.

“Let me make it clear. This is not for the arrest and the conviction. This is for the arrest, if you bring him in today, you get paid today,” FOP president John McNesby said.

Anyone with information is asked to call: (215) 686-8477 or (866) 865-8477.

Reported by Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3

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