Police have wrapped up a prostitution sting in Kensington, authorities announced today, an operation aimed at finding the man or men responsible for the brutal rapes and beatings of four women in recent months.
Though police have not found the men accused in those particular assaults, they arrested 102 people over the course of the 12-day operation, most of whom were charged with solicitation. Female undercover officers posed as prostitutes around Kensington Avenue, where the victims were picked up before they were attacked, and arrested 76 men who offered money or drugs for sex.
"We wanted to send the message that if you're going to come down to Kensington Avenue, or any other area of Philadelphia, to engage in an illegal activity, you may be doing so with an undercover officer," said Lt. Charles Green of the city's vice squad.
Some of the arrested men had weapons. One man was carrying a 10-inch butcher knife, police said. Police also arrested 26 women on prostitution-related charges.
Since October, four women have been raped and badly beaten by men who found them walking near Kensington Avenue at night. Police are not sure whether the same person is responsible for all the attacks, and have said there were differences between the cases.
A composite sketch of the man has been released, and only one of the victims could describe her attacker's race. Authorities distributed copies of the sketch as part of the sting, and said today that an increased police presence will continue in the area.