February 24, 2021
Police have arrested a West Philadelphia man accused of sexually assaulting a 55-year-old woman at the Macy's department store in Center City last weekend.
Jaleel Uqdah, 22, was taken into custody at his home in the city's Carroll Park neighborhood Wednesday morning. Police said they found clothes matching those worn during the alleged assault.
Uqdah was charged with rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated assault, robbery, sexual assault and other offenses, prosectuors said.
The victim was shopping with her husband Sunday when she entered a third floor bathroom around 11:30 a.m. Uqdah had been waiting inside the restroom for 20 minutes when she entered, police said. He allegedly jumped over her stall, dragged her into another stall and raped her.
Uqdah, who used kitchen skewers as a "makeshift weapon," also stole between $60 and $80 from the woman, police said.
Uqdah allegedly fled on the Market-Frankford Line at SEPTA's 13th Street Station, located beneath the department. Surveillance cameras caught him exiting the El station at 52nd and Market streets and visiting a store at 52nd Street and Girard Avenue, about a mile from the El station.
Police said they received multiple tips after releasing surveillance footage Tuesday. The victim also identified Uqdah from a photo lineup.
Uqdah is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
He previously was charged with burglary for allegedly breaking into a Family Dollar store last June. He also was charged with theft for an August 2019 incident involving a SEPTA cashier booth.
The prosecution of those cases was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, District Attorney Larry Krasner said.
"We will vigorously and justly prosecute Mr. Uqdah for this terrible crime as well as the two other offenses," Krasner said. "We are seeking to hold Mr. Uqdah in custody without bail pre-trail because of the extreme danger he presents to the community. We do not want Mr. Uqdah to be able to buy his freedom before trial with any amount of money."
Krasner praised the rape victim for immediately reporting the incident to her spouse and police, saying she is deserving of "gratitude and admiration."
"This survivor is courageously making women safer from similar crimes in the future," Krasner said.
The D.A.'s Office encourages sexual assault survivors to seek support by contacting the WOAR Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence hotline at (215) 985-3333. The hotline is available 24 hours a day.