A 22-year-old West Philadelphia man was expected to be charged Wednesday with raping a 55-year-old woman in the bathroom of the Center City Macy’s after police said he waited in a stall for 20 minutes, jumped into the woman’s stall when she walked in, attacked her while brandishing kitchen skewers and threatened to kill her.
Jaleel Uqdah was arrested at his home Wednesday morning and will face charges including rape, aggravated assault, and robbery, according to police. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.
Police said the crime occurred Sunday around 11:30 a.m. at the department store on the 1300 block of Market Street across from City Hall. The woman’s husband was in the store on a different floor, police said.
Uqdah walked out of the Macy’s around 11:40 a.m. and took the SEPTA Market Frankford Line to 52nd and Market Streets, then took a bus to 52nd Street and Girard Avenue, police said. Authorities said surveillance video captured him at many points along his route.
Police on Tuesday published surveillance video on YouTube showing clips of the suspect leaving the store. He was arrested after a tipster called detectives and said they recognized Uqdah as the suspect.
District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement that his office would ask a judge to hold Uqdah in jail without bail “because of the extreme danger he presents to the community.” Krasner said the crime Uqdah is accused of committing “tears apart society. Its terrible message to women is that they are not safe in society or in their daily lives.”
Uqdah was already facing several open criminal cases, involving charges including theft, burglary and receiving stolen property, according to court records.
He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday in the rape case.
Citywide, police have reported 111 rapes this year through Sunday, a 20% decrease compared to the same date last year.