By Ben Simmoneau

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police have released a sketch of a man they believe raped a woman in Center City last week. The assault occurred just off 16th Street near Cherry, on the 100 block of N. Mole Street. That area is just off the Ben Franklin Parkway near Suburban Station.

The perpetrator is described as a 30-35-year-old black man who stands 5’8″ to 5’10” and weighs 150-180 pounds with an athletic build.

“Most importantly he had two large hoop earrings in both ears, which I think is a good identifier,” said police Lt. Anthony McFadden, with the Special Victims Unit.

Authorities say the 32-year-old victim was walking last Wednesday morning, December 7, along 16th Street when the man approached her with a gun. He forced her onto Mole Street, a narrow one-block-long street that parallels 16th between Cherry and Race. About halfway down the block is a small community garden where police say he raped her.

“It’s really scary,” said Adrian Hardy, who lives next to the garden. “You think being in the middle of the city, two blocks from City Hall, nothing can happen.”

Some neighbors wonder if the perpetrator cased the street ahead of time and chose it because of the secluded area at the rear of the garden.

“It looks like he planned this a little bit,” said John Grevenitis, who operates Rex Pizzeria at the end of the block and also lives there. “For him to go in the back, he must have known the garden.”

Anyone with information is asked to please call the Special Victims Unit at (215) 685-3251 or (215) 685-3252.

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