SEPTA Cameras Help Catch Suspect in Dramatic Video - Fox 2 News Headlines

SEPTA Cameras Help Catch Suspect in Dramatic Video

Posted: Updated:
PHILADELPHIA -

Surveillance video of a young woman thrown onto the subway tracks in Center City Philadelphia is absolutely shocking to watch.

SEPTA cameras captured the violent attack, and as a result of those cameras, police quickly nabbed their suspect.  He's behind bars on $2 million bail.

The assault happened Tuesday afternoon. Forty-eight hours later, police arrested their suspect.

Just a few years ago, it would not have happened so quickly, if at all.  But that's the power of a camera.

Mike Gritsko, a SEPTA detective, agrees, "It was shocking, it was horrifying."

The 23-year-old victim had loaned a stranger a cigarette lighter. Moments later, she's dragged off the SEPTA subway platform at the Chinatown station and thrown onto the tracks.

"I been here 20 years, and I haven't seen anything this horrific, where a young woman is just sitting there and brutally attacked," Gritsko insisted.

By Thursday afternoon, police had taken 36-year-old William Clark into custody, after a SEPTA police sergeant spotted him a few blocks away.

Sgt. Nicole Lawson told FOX 29 what caught her attention: "His facial features, with the pictures you could clearly see his distinctive facial features."

Those are photos she received on her smartphone just 15 minutes after the attack.

The surveillance cameras inside the subway station, which captured the entire assault, also provided police with their best lead.

"Oh it's phenomenal! SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel told FOX 29.

"It's phenomenal.  Investigatively it's just no better tool," Nestel continued.  "Because that's a witness that isn't going to be afraid to come to court, is never going to get sick, and is completely neutral."

SEPTA now has tens of thousands of cameras in its subway stations, on its subway cars, and in its buses and trolleys.

"They're adjustable so we can move around, we can zoom in," SEPTA Detective John Cicala showed FOX 29.

Detectives can watch in real time or can review a recorded event after they get a 911 call. That's what happened with the subway attack.

If this had happened just a decade ago, the man probably would still be walking the streets, looking for his next victim.

"The video technology has really taken it to where I didn't think we'd ever be," Gritsko added.

The victim was not seriously injured. With so many cameras, there's no way SEPTA can monitor each one real-time. But the video is still incredibly helpful after the fact.

By the end of this year, SEPTA's entire trolley fleet, all of its subway cars, and 90 percent of its buses will have cameras.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police: Man kills wife, wounds self at New Jersey hospital

    Police: Man kills wife, wounds self at New Jersey hospital

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 11:45 AM EDT2014-08-27 15:45:20 GMT
    Authorities say a man shot his wife and himself at a hospital in southern New Jersey.Camden County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Jason Laughlin says both are alive and being treated.
    Authorities say a man shot his wife and himself at a hospital in southern New Jersey.Camden County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Jason Laughlin says both are alive and being treated.
  • Girl set to testify in Bryant School school abduction

    Girl set to testify in Bryant School school abduction

    A now 7-year-old girl abducted from her Philadelphia kindergarten and sexually assaulted could testify Wednesday in the trial of a former day care worker.
    A now 7-year-old girl abducted from her Philadelphia kindergarten and sexually assaulted could testify Wednesday in the trial of a former day care worker.
  • Man Robs Olney Dunkin Donuts After Asking For Cup of Coffee

    Man Robs Olney Dunkin Donuts After Asking For Cup of Coffee

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:46 AM EDT2014-08-27 14:46:10 GMT
    Police are looking for a man who robbed a Dunkin Donuts in Olney.This happened on August 21 at 8:12 pm while employees were working inside the store located at 5401 North 5th Street. 
    Police are looking for a man who robbed a Dunkin Donuts in Olney.This happened on August 21 at 8:12 pm while employees were working inside the store located at 5401 North 5th Street. 
Powered by WorldNow

WJBK-TV | Fox 2
16550 West Nine Mile Rd.
Southfield, MI 48075

Main Station: (248) 557-2000
Newsroom: (248) 552-5103

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices