By CBS3 Staff


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police are searching for a suspect who raped two teenagers in the Oxford Circle section of Philadelphia. Police say the victims were assaulted in separate incidents as they got off SEPTA buses.

Detectives released surveillance video of the suspect Tuesday in hopes that the public can help identify the man.

“The victims are both teenagers — 16 and 18 — they’re both high school students,” Philadelphia Police Capt. Mark Burgmann said. “They both were returning home from work when they got off the bus.”

Detectives say the suspect has shown himself to be familiar with the area of Bustleton and Roosevelt Boulevard.

“It’s absolutely terrifying. That’s every woman’s nightmare, is to be raped,” Oxford Circle resident Brenda Rios said.

In each case, detectives say the suspect choked his victims, overpowering them in dark alleys and in one case, only feet from the busy boulevard.

The first incident happened on the 1200 block of Levick Street around 12:15 a.m. on Oct. 15. An 18-year-old woman was walking west on Levick Street, after getting off the SEPTA Route 14 bus at Levick Street and Bustleton Avenue, when an unknown African American man followed and approached her from behind.

He led her to a rear driveway on the 1200 block of Elbridge Street where he sexually assaulted her. He then took her phone and fled through the driveway.

The suspect in this incident is described as an African American man between 20 to 25 years of age, 5-foot-8, with a dark complexion. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt.

The second incident happened at the intersection of Bustleton Avenue and Levick Street at 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 20, after a 16-year-old girl got off the SEPTA Route 14 bus.

Officials say an African American man approached her from behind and pulled her jacket over her face. He allegedly pulled her into an alleyway while telling her not to make any noise and then sexually assaulted her.

The suspect took the victim’s phone and fled in an unknown direction.

Police say there’s no question the same man is behind the attacks.

“As soon as we saw the second job, we knew, it was crystal clear it’s the same offender,” Burgmann said. “The MO is exactly the same. It’s the same individual to commit crimes, I’m sure of that.”

Burgmann says surveillance video has been recovered from the area.

Kamaiyah Jackson is 16 years old and often takes the SEPTA Route 14 bus. She says she’ll now be even more cautious walking home.

“Look at your surroundings, everything, and make sure nobody is following you, have somebody walking with you — anybody, to be safe,” a commuter said.

Jose Manuel Santiago is concerned for his 22-year-old daughter’s safety following these assaults.

“I’m hoping that she walks with friends or her fiancé picks her up from work,” he said.

Police say they don’t believe the suspect was on the same bus as the victims.

A SEPTA spokesperson said they are reviewing surveillance video and will hand over anything of help to investigators.

If you have any information about this crime or suspect, contact the Philadelphia Police Special Victims Unit at 215-686-3264 or 215-686-9255.

CBS3’s Joe Holden and Greg Argos contributed to this report.