Modern technology and a policeman’s sharp eye led to the capture of a Northeast man wanted in connection with a brutal assault in April on a Rhawnhurst resident.
On June 11, members of the 2nd Police District Advisory Council named Christopher McCue and Thomas Farrell as the April Officers of the Month, commending them for the April 17 arrest of 26-year-old Abraham Cordova.
The story began early April 11 when Cordova allegedly entered a first-floor rear apartment on the 7900 block of Loretto Ave. He is accused of repeatedly hitting the 63-year-old occupant with an object as she resisted his attempts to rip off her clothes, according to Dianne Murphy, the district’s community relations officer. A neighbor heard the victim’s screams for help and dialed 911.
The victim lost her left eye, and her right eye was severely damaged, Murphy said.
“It was the most heinous incident I’ve ever seen,” said Capt. Frank Palumbo, the 2nd District’s commander.
The attacker fled before police arrived, Murphy said, but the victim, a neighbor and other witnesses described him to officers. Private surveillance cameras positioned in the neighborhood captured the image of a man matching the attacker’s description entering and leaving the victim’s apartment building, Murphy said. Surveillance footage also showed the vehicle the attacker was driving.
The surveillance video, which might not have been available just a few years ago, proved to be a big element in Cordova’s arrest less than a week later.
Murphy said video footage was distributed to investigators, the public and 2nd District officers.
On April 17, Farrell saw what he thought was the car parked on the 1600 block of St. Vincent St. as he was on his way to work, Murphy said. He notified his partner, McCue, who already was on duty in plain clothes. McCue set up surveillance of the vehicle, and the officers saw a man who matched the description of the Rhawnhurst woman’s attacker enter the auto.
McCue and Farrell stopped the car and detained the man. Witnesses were brought to the stop, and they identified Cordova, Murphy said.
Cordova, of the 7200 block of Horrocks St., is charged with attempted murder, attempted rape, aggravated assault and related offenses.
Palumbo said surveillance tapes can be a big help to police in solving crimes. According to the Police Department, officers solve 30 percent of the crimes in which surveillance tapes are used in their investigations.
PDAC members will not meet in July and August. They’ll resume their monthly sessions on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Philadelphia Protestant Home, 6500 Tabor Ave. ••