Philly Police arrest man accused of groping young girl

Dan Wing
November 29, 2018 - 8:35 am
Joshua Periera-Lopez

Philadelphia Police Department

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Police have announced an arrest connected to the groping of a young girl as she walked to school in the city's Tacony section Wednesday morning. 

Philadelphia Police say 29-year-old Joshua Periera-Lopez of the Wissinoming section of the city walked into the 25th District headquarters and said was the guy they were looking for, just over 12 hours after the alleged assault took place. 

Periera-Lopez, of the 4500 block of Higbee Street, was arrested and charged Wednesday night with indecent assault, making terroristic threats and related offenses.

They say Periera-Lopez was caught on surviellance video as he approached a 12-year-old girl walking down Longshore Avenue around 8 a.m. Police say in the video he can be seen putting both his hands up the back of her skirt. They say he ran off, but the girl turned around and ran after him to confront him.

But police say when the man began threatening her, she ran the rest of the way to school, where someone called the police.

Police Capt. Sekou Kinebrew says getting the video of the attack in broad daylight may have prevented him from doing it again.

"At least we know this, whether he would have or wouldn't have, he can't now at least for the time he's in jail," Kinebrew said. "That's why it's so important to get him off the street to make sure he can't re-offend, at least in the short run."

Kinebrew says Periera-Lopez has no prior arrests for similar behavior, but he said the Special Victims Unit is now searching through other assault reports to see whether Periera-Lopez matches the description of the attacker in those cases.

"And if he, or anyone else has done something similar in that area, this would be a good time for someone that maybe was hesitant, maybe didn't want to come forward, this would be a good time to do it if they're so inclined," he said.

Before news of the arrest, neighbors expressed their disgust to CBS 3 Eyewitness News.

"How could you do that to a little girl?" said Lynne Bernatovich. "Especially right here with everybody around. Like, that's sick."

She neighbor warned that someone might take justice into their own hands if he did not turn himself in.

"Turn yourself in or the cops are going to get you, the neighborhood's going to get you, somebody's going to get you, and it's not going to be pretty whatsoever."

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KYW Newsradio's Mark Abrams contributed to this report.