An 88-year-old Chester County woman said she apparently scared off an intruder who was about to rape her in her apartment by telling him, "I have HIV and my husband died of it."
That "was a lie," the woman told Philly.com Friday after sharing her story with CBS3 and 6ABC. But it apparently scared the man, who had pulled down her jeans and taken off his own, she said.
Philly.com does not identify victims in sexual assault cases.
About 3:30 p.m. Feb. 17, the woman returned to her apartment on Strasburg Avenue in Parkesburg after grocery shopping.
She said she didn't lock her storm door, which leads outside, but locked her main door. After she heard a knock on the door, she opened it, and was met by a man who claimed to work at the apartment complex.
She knew he didn't work there, but "he pushed me and he shut the door," she said. "He went through my purse and he took roughly $40. He decided there wasn't too much here. I think he thought he was going to abuse me."
The man, who appeared to be in his upper teens to early 20s, then forced her into the bedroom, where he threw her onto the bed. He took out duct tape he had in a coat pocket and wrapped it around parts of her head, and used it to bind her hands in front, she said.
He put a box of condoms on the nightstand. After he removed both of their jeans, "he looked around and I said to him, 'Before you do anything, I have HIV and my husband died of it,' " the woman said.
She said she then "kicked him where it hurt him the most."
He then took out wire from his coat pocket and bound her ankles, she said, before going into her bathroom. Before he fled, he took the batteries out of her two house phones, she said.
The woman described her assailant as possibly of mixed race or a light-skinned black person. She said he had on a coat, a light-gray hooded sweatshirt that looked new, and jeans.
The Parkesburg Borough Police Department released a sketch of the man they are seeking. Anyone with information about him is asked to call police at 610-857-3535.
This robbery is unrelated to one that occurred Feb. 22 in East Brandywine Township, Chester County, in which a 72-year-old woman was choked to unconsciousness, and bound and thrown into a dark, locked storage closet of her home. The woman was found by a daughter-in-law four days later.