November 25, 2020
A 32-year-old man whose face in recent weeks has shown up on posters, warning Philadelphia women about an alleged predator, was charged Wednesday in connection with a pair of stalking incidents in Old City. And he could be at the center of more allegations, according to stories women are sharing on social media.
Steve Ditty, of Philadelphia, was arrested following an investigation into several incidents this month, District Attorney Larry Krasner announced.
In the first incident on Nov. 12, Ditty approached a woman near Ninth and South streets. After attempting to initiate a conversation, Ditty allegedly followed the woman as she jogged away, at one point reaching out his hand to her. He only relented when a bystander shouted at him to stop and attempted to intervene, prosecutors said.
The second incident occurred on Nov. 23 when the same woman was approached by Ditty in the area of Third and Market streets. Ditty allegedly made unwelcome comments about the woman's body and tried to initiate conversation.
When the woman learned of social media posts about Ditty and frightening encounters others said they had with him, she contacted Philadelphia police.
Another woman told investigators about an encounter with Ditty on Nov. 14 at an undisclosed location in Old City. Ditty asked if he could use the woman's phone, and when she declined, he allegedly threatened her, refused to leave her alone, made unwanted physical contact and continued to follow her as she walked away.
Ditty was charged Wednesday with stalking, simple assault and harassment in the incidents described above. Krasner said Ditty had been free on probation following 10 months incarceration for a similar offense.
Concerns about Ditty spread on social media when a poster was shared online, warning women to be alert. The post claimed Ditty had harassed women in the Rittenhouse area and South Philadelphia, as well. Numerous women commented on Instagram post sharing similar interactions they had with him in the past.
"Women and all people deserve the freedom and comfort of being able to move about in public spaces without fear for their safety. Unfortunately, so-called street harassment of women and girls is all too common," said Branwen McNabb, Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit supervisor at the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.
Other incidents allegedly involving Ditty remain under investigation. Additional charges are possible.
Victim of this conduct, or those who know victims of stalking and harassment, are encouraged you to report what they know to Philadelphia Police at 215-686-TIPS.