Philadelphia police are investigating whether two recent assaults on women in Kensington were committed by the same man who is believed to have targeted prostitutes in the area earlier this year - in one case stabbing and beating a woman to death.
The alleged perpetrator, whose image has been captured on surveillance videos, has not been identified. He is often described as riding a bike.
The latest incident occurred at about 6:30 a.m. Oct. 1 on the 2700 block of Ruth Street.
Police said a 25-year-old woman told them she was approached by a man she didn't know, riding a red-and-black bike. She said he propositioned her and after having sex, the woman said she tried to leave, but the man started choking her until she lost consciousness. After neighbors heard the woman screaming for help, she was taken to Temple University Hospital for treatment.
In a similar incident, a 19-year-old woman told police she was sexually assaulted and attacked on the 3100 block of Stouton Street last month.
This woman said she was standing on Kensington Avenue at about 2 a.m. Sept. 19 when a man she didn't know approached her from behind on a blue mountain bike, placed a gun to her back, and ordered her to walk. The man then took her to an alley on Stouton Street, where he held a knife to her face and sexually assaulted her, police said.
The fatal stabbing and beating happened in July when a 35-year-old woman, identified as Rickie Morgan of Kensington, was killed.
Police said that at about 11:20 p.m. July 16, officers found Morgan lying naked on the sidewalk, covered in blood from head to toe, on the 2400 block of Jasper Street. Medics pronounced her dead at the scene.
Earlier that night, the man had propositioned Morgan for sex, police have said. After the two went to the rear of an abandoned property on the 1900 block of East Cumberland Street, he stabbed her with a knife and beat her with a brick, Homicide Capt. James Clark has said.
Morgan, of the 2900 block of Kensington Avenue, escaped and ran from the scene, but then collapsed on Jasper Street.
Clark has said the killer was described as riding a blue-and-black mountain bike.
The same man may have been involved in two other attacks earlier this year on prostitutes.
About 12:30 a.m. on July 12, a man on a blue-and-black mountain bike approached a 24-year-old woman from behind on the 3800 block of Jasper Street, in Frankford. He grabbed and choked her until she lost consciousness, police said.
When she awoke, she was naked and had severe facial and head wounds. She spent several days at Temple University Hospital, police said.
In the spring, a 45-year-old woman said she was repeatedly stabbed in the throat with a box cutter by a man who approached her on the 2900 block of Frankford Avenue, in Kensington, at about 3 a.m. on April 19. After being stabbed, the woman flagged down a passing vehicle, and the occupants inside took her to Temple University Hospital, police said.
6ABC, which first reported on the latest two of the five attacks, said police believe the same man is responsible for all of them. No one was available in the Police Department on Saturday to comment. A police spokeswoman said Friday that the attacker in each case fits a similar description but that it was too early to confirm if it is the same man.
The alleged serial attacker has been described as black, in his 20s or 30s. He has been described as wearing a baseball cap and in most cases was riding a mountain bike.
Anyone with information about these attacks is asked to contact the police Special Victims Unit at 215-685-3251 or call 911.