By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia police are asking those using recreation trails along Wissahickon in Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy to be extra alert after a 51-year-old woman was attacked Friday evening by a man who attempted to rob and rape her.
Lt. Anthony McFadden, who leads the Special Investigations Unit of the Special Victims Unit, told CBS3's Walt Hunter that the predator first greeted his victim then, after walking past her, threw her to the ground, choked her and shoved dirt into her mouth while she tried to scream for help.
Fortunately, Lt. McFadden says, the victim was able to break free and find a man nearby who used his phone to call police.
Investigators describe the attacker as a black male between 25 and 30 years old, 6-feet tall, who was wearing a red polo-style shirt and tan pants.
Lt. McFadden and Liz Werthan, who works with the Friends of Wissahickon, a neighborhood community group, both urged trail users to pay close attention to their surroundings and use the "buddy system" along trails until the suspect is caught.
Anyone with information about the attack, which happened around 5:35 Friday evening on a trail close to the McCallum Street Bridge, should call "911" or 215-546 TIPS with information.
Crime alerts and updates will be posted on the Friends of the Wissahickon website at www.fow.org.
The FOW also advises that Fairmount Park Rangers can be reached at 215-685-2172 and trail users can also seek out Wissahickon Trail Ambassadors who are often in the park.
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