Police announced the arrest Thursday, more than two days after the woman was assaulted around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at a subway station in the city's Chinatown neighborhood. The victim had been sitting on a bench when the man asked her what time the train was coming and requested a light for his cigarette, according to investigators. After she obliged and put the lighter back in her coat pocket, police said, the man grabbed her by the neck and began punching her.
In the assault, which was caught on surveillance video, the man can be seen grabbing the victim by her feet, dragging her along the platform and then throwing her on the tracks as she screamed. The suspect walked away with her cellphone, police said, but the woman was able to get back up onto the platform with only bruises and cuts.
Investigators with the city's police department and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said they didn't release information about the attack until Thursday because they had identified the suspect by his distinctive jacket, which has one red sleeve, one aqua sleeve and a Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resorts logo on it, and didn't want to compromise the investigation by giving a description.
"They didn't want him to take that jacket off," SEPTA spokeswoman Heather Redfern said Friday.
Philadelphia police identified the suspect as William Clark, 37, of Philadelphia; he faces charges of aggravated assault, theft and related counts.
Clark was arrested around 2:30 p.m. Thursday at a plaza near City Hall, authorities said, and officers identified him because he was wearing the same jacket. He resisted but was arrested and the victim's cellphone was recovered, police said.
Investigators said haven't determined a possible motive, but authorities believe Clark may have mental health issues. It wasn't immediately known if he had an attorney.
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