Saying "I just want to apologize to my victims," the North Philadelphia man accused of being the strong-arm robber who assaulted and robbed six women this summer in Society Hill this morning waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Willie Wyche's statement in court during a brief appearance before Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Craig M. Washington was not part of a guilty plea.

His decision to waive his right to a preliminary hearing means that the six cases charging Wyche with aggravated assault, robbery and related offenses - and one count of attempted murder - will proceed directly to trial.

The next court hearing for Wyche, 39, will be a formal arraignment on the charges on Nov. 3.

Defense attorney Mythri Jayaraman declined comment on Wyche's statement and whether he would plead guilty.

Wyche's impromptu expression of remorse and his decision to waive a preliminary hearing and not force his victims to testify could work in his favor at sentencing if he decides to plead guilty.

Authorities say Wyche was responsible for six robberies between June 25 and July 10 in which the female victims were approached from behind and had their purses or wallets stolen.

None was sexually assaulted but several were choked or thrown to the ground and the injuries to one were severe enough to warrant the attempted murder charge, said Assistant District Attorney Vincent Regan.

Contact staff writer Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, jslobodzian@phillynews.com, or @joeslobo on Twitter.

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