Center City Philadelphia Rape: Suspect in sexual assault at law firm in custody in Philly; bail set at $3M

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A man accused of raping a woman in a Center City office building is now in custody in Philadelphia and has been charged.

District Attorneys say Willie Harris, 49, faces multiple charges for assaulting a woman at a law firm.

He is being held on $3 million bail.

Harris was extradited to Philadelphia after his arrest in Gloucester County, New Jersey. He was arrested two days after the incident.

The Washington Township Police Department credited social media and a vigilant nurse with helping locate the suspect.

“We made the social media post around 9 p.m. and he was in custody at 11 p.m.,” Washington Township Police Chief Patrick Gurcsik said.

The attack occurred around 2:14 p.m. Tuesday, July 5, at a law office on the 200 block of North 13th Street.

Police say a 22-year-old woman was raped while her colleague was at lunch. They were the only two working in the office at the time.

Philadelphia police released surveillance video of Harris.

The video allegedly shows the suspect casually entering and exiting the office building before the attack.

As soon as he entered the building, police said the suspect went to the 8th floor and entered the unlocked law office.

The man said he was looking for someone, but the victim said she didn’t know the name, according to Captain James Kearney of the Special Victims Unit. The man then asked the victim to sit on a chair.

Harris then allegedly began searching the office, and the victim offered to give the man her Airpods and earrings in hopes he would disappear.

He then got angry and hit and choked the victim as she tried to scream for help, police said.

Kearney said the suspect then raped the victim.

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The attack was interrupted when the colleague got back to the office. The suspect then fled.

Authorities determined that Harris was sighted in Woodbury, New Jersey, the next day.

Two days after the incident, the Washington Township Police Department received information that Harris had been spotted on Egg Harbor Road near the Xpress Mart.

Detectives went to this location and retrieved surveillance video of Harris standing at the bus stop.

Police then released a post on social media reading “Be on the lookout” with Harris’ picture around 9 p.m. that night.

It has been shared thousands of times.

Within an hour, a nurse from Jefferson Washington Township Hospital contacted police. The nurse believed the suspect was in the hospital and had just been discharged.

Officers found him outside on a bench and arrested him.

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“An observant nurse here at the hospital saw (the social media post) on her shift and immediately notified hospital security and the police. We were there within a minute or two and picked him up and took him into custody without incident,” Chief Gurcsik said.

After the arrest, police updated the social media post with the words: “Thank you to our attentive community of followers who saw and shared this social media post.”

They included a photo of Harris with the words “in custody.”

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https://6abc.com/center-city-rape-suspect-in-custody-willie-harris-3-million-bail-law-firm-sex-assault/12063160/ Center City Philadelphia Rape: Suspect in sexual assault at law firm in custody in Philly; bail set at $3M

Alley Einstein

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