Police searching for man suspected of raping Drexel student

Tim Jimenez
October 10, 2019 - 7:29 am
The Drexel University campus is shown on Thursday morning.

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio


UPDATED: 5:26 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Police say a Drexel University student was raped in an off-campus apartment in the city's Powelton section on Wednesday, and they’re trying to identify and track down the man. 

Drexel Police, on bike or in their cars Thursday morning, were on patrol in the area.

Like many others on campus, freshman Leah Voorhees found out about the attack when a text alert from the university popped up on her phone. She says she can't help but think about the victim.

"It's such a sad encounter for somebody to have, because it can mess up their whole life," she said, "but unfortunately it's something that occurs, and it really shouldn't be that way."

Police say the 22-year-old student was walking to apartment at 32nd and Winter streets, right by Drexel Park, when a young man followed her inside the building.

"She had no idea he was right behind her. She opened the door and tried to close it and he was all ready inside," said Special Victims Unit Capt. Mark Burgmann.

Burgmann says she wasn't alarmed at first because he asked for John, the name of her roommate. 

"At that point in time, the male said he was there for someone named John. As it turns out, our victim does have a roommate named John, so she told the male to stay there. She went into the kitchen area and she texted John," said Burgmann. "At that point in time, John said he had no idea who it was — he wasn't expecting anybody and he was at work. So she informed the offender that he wasn't there."

Burgmann says the man, who then identified himself as Tom, put the woman in a headlock and forced her into a bedroom, where he raped her.

"He closed the door to her bedroom and left the property. She has no idea which way he went at all," he said. 

The cops say he was last seen carrying a phone with a red case. The Philadelphia Police Department Special Victims Unit is leading the investigation.

As police search for the attacker, Drexel's Public Safety Department urges students to not be alone and to walk around campus with others, especially at night. Officials are reminding students to be mindful of what’s going on around them and to call police if they spot anything suspicious

They’re also reminding students to make sure they lock their homes and cars.

Anyone with information is asked to call Philadelphia Police Department or Drexel Police.


KYW Newsradio's John McDevitt contributed to this report. 

Related: Police: Drexel University student raped at off-campus apartment