Man, 22, charged with rape, assault in store bathroom attack | Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a department store bathroom in Philadelphia has been charged with rape, robbery and aggravated assault, police said.

Police announced charges Wednesday afternoon against 22-year-old Jaleel Uqdah, who had been arrested that morning at his west Philadelphia home.

Investigators allege that he entered a third-floor restroom Sunday morning at the Macy’s on Market Street in Center City and waited for about 20 minutes before a 55-year-old woman entered. They allege that he then jumped into the woman’s stall, dragged her into another stall, menaced her with sharp wooden skewers and threated to kill her before sexually assaulting her and fleeing with between $60 and $80 stolen from her.

Captain Mark Burgmann of the Special Victims Unit said Uqdah has a previous record but not involving sexual offenses. He called the attack “pretty brazen” and said investigators are taking “a good hard look” at whether the defendant might be responsible for other crimes in the city.

Burgmann said the perpetrator went into the bathroom “within three minutes” of entering the department store.

“He went nowhere else but that bathroom,” Burgmann said. ”So it sure seemed like that was his intent when he got there.”

Burgmann credited help from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority in finding the suspect. Surveillance video from SEPTA buses and businesses near his west Philadelphia residence allowed investigators to track the suspect’s movements and identify him, Burgmann said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Uqdah had an attorney; a listed number for him couldn’t be found Wednesday.

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