Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Northeast Times: Cops Capture Industrious Offender

Northeast Times chronicles criminal montage.

Police have nabbed a Crescentville man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman earlier this month and attempted to abduct two teenage girls last week.

Antwaine Mathis, 18, of the 500 block of E. Carver St., was arrested at about 10 p.m. Thursday after he had attempted to take two teenage girls into his car on the 300 block of Sanger St., said Capt. Jack McGinnis of Northeast Detectives.

The girls, ages 15 and 16, broke free of Mathis, who then pointed a weapon at bystanders and attempted to flee in a blue Mercury, McGinnis said. Officers from the 2nd Police District apprehended Mathis. His weapon turned out to be a pellet gun.

Lawncrest Town Watch president Ken Hyers had been in his back yard when he heard screams. He had just come from an emergency community crime meeting called by Raj Bhatka, the Republican candidate in the 13th Congressional District.

"I heard someone yell, ‘Call 911,’" Hyers told the Times.

Hyers said he startled Mathis by shining a flashlight at him. By that point, other neighbors had started coming out onto the street. He commends other residents of the block and 2nd Police District officers for their help in stopping Mathis.

"I felt like I did what I needed to do as a Town Watch member," said Hyers, who added that he was focused on getting a good look at Mathis to provide police with a description. "All the neighbors came out."

He said the girls whom Mathis allegedly attempted to abduct are still shaken but doing better.

The other incident, a sexual assault, occurred on Monday, Aug. 7, at about 12:40 a.m. in an alley behind the 200 block of E. Comly St., police said.

The 30-year-old female victim was walking home when a man approached her from behind, threatened her with a gun, forced her into an alley and assaulted her. He then fled on foot in an unknown direction.

Police contend that Mathis used a long black handgun with an ammunition clip attached during the attack. Following the incident, police released a composite sketch of the then-unknown suspect in the hope that someone would recognize him.

Capt. John Darby, of the special victims unit, commended 2nd district Officer Terrance Black, who recalled the composite of the suspect in the sexual assault when Mathis was apprehended.

"A lot of different law enforcement people in various capacities were all working together," Darby said.

Mathis also is allegedly responsible for two robberies, one on the 5800 block of Newtown Ave. on Aug. 6 at 3:53 p.m., and another on the 6400 block of Bingham St. on Aug. 10 at 12:27 a.m. A total of $176 in cash was stolen.

Mathis has been charged with aggravated assault, robbery and burglary in addition to kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, violation of the federal Uniform Firearms Act and other related offenses.

He is being held on $1.2 million bail. A preliminary hearing has been set for Aug. 29.


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