Willie Harris captured: Center City rape suspect who was arrested in Washington Township has lengthy criminal history

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A Center City Philadelphia rape suspect who was arrested Thursday night in South Jersey has a long criminal history dating back to 1992.

The Washington Township Police Department in Gloucester County credits social media and a vigilant nurse with assisting in the search for the suspect, identified as 49-year-old Willie Harris.

“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.

According to the Philadelphia Attorney’s Office, Harris was previously found guilty of trespassing and disorderly conduct in New Jersey in 1992. He has since been found guilty on more than 20 other charges, including trespassing, burglary, robbery and theft.

He was most recently found guilty of theft in New Jersey in 2020. In Philadelphia, Harris pleaded guilty to burglary in 2015. He also pled guilty to criminal mischief and criminal trespassing in 2001.

Harris is accused of raping a woman at a law office on the 200 block of North 13th Street on Tuesday.

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 reportedly showed 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.


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

Late Thursday afternoon, the Washington Township Police Department received information that Harris was 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 titled “Be on the lookout” with Harris’s picture around 9 p.m

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.

“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.”

Harris is being held in South Jersey pending extradition to Philadelphia.

Police said Harris’ address was unknown but noted he had ties to Philadelphia and parts of South Jersey, including Camden and Woodbury.

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https://6abc.com/willie-harris-arrested-center-city-rape-suspect-in-custody-law-firm-sex-assault-washington-township-police/12033233/ Willie Harris captured: Center City rape suspect who was arrested in Washington Township has lengthy criminal history

Alley Einstein

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