Reported sexual assaults on SEPTA trains, property lead riders to feeling uneasy

There was a noticeable increase in transit police and security officers around several Center City SEPTA stops Thursday night. FOX 29’s Chris O’Connell rode both the Broad Street and Market Frankford Lines to get the mood of passengers after the latest reports of sexual assaults on the system.

"It makes me not want to take SEPTA anymore because I don’t feel safe on here," said Vanessa Best of Germantown. She rides the Broad Street line daily. 

A week after a man was arrested for allegedly raping a passenger on a Market Frankford train car, Upper Darby Police have arrested another man for sexual assault and may be connected to two others. Edwin Allen, 28, is accused of pushing a woman into a secluded area and groping her inside the 69th Street Terminal. 

"The victim cried out for help and a witness helped her. She screamed and she helped stop that from happening and going further," said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer.


Upper Darby police say the officer who arrested Allen is the same officer who arrested Fiston Ngoy, 35, for last week’s rape onboard the Market Frankford line witnessed by fellow passengers.

FOX 29 has learned Allen is connected to two other indecent assaults on SEPTA property on Monday, including the assault of a female high school student at the Olney station.

By late Tuesday, sources say SEPTA identified Allen as a suspect and were working on a warrant for his arrest. However, SEPTA never alerted passengers or the public that Allen may still be riding the system. In fact, he was. 

Two nights later, police say Allen struck again at 69th Street when a woman was attacked. This time he was arrested.

"This is something we should have been notified about. There should have been signs up. Precautions," said one female SEPTA rider who asked not to be identified.

A SEPTA spokesperson tells FOX 29 the authority sent out a warning about Allen because they didn’t need help identifying him and were still working on an arrest warrant. Some riders say they’re now taking their own precautions.

"I got the news from my roommates actually. So we were talking about it and that’s why I’m trying to travel with people now so I can feel safer," said Cynthia Yang of University City.

SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel declined to be interviewed about the latest assaults. A spokesperson says transit police are looking at bringing more uniformed officers in to ride the trains in an effort to be more visible.


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