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Philadelphia police find rape suspect by pinging stolen cell phone

By Daniel Kelley

(Reuters) - Philadelphia police said on Wednesday they caught a man suspected of rape by pinging the victim's cell phone, which had been stolen by her attacker.

Officers said they located the suspect, identified as Milton Garcia-Vazquez, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, at his home in South Philadelphia on Tuesday after sending a signal to the victim's iPhone, which then reported its geographic location.

Garcia-Vazquez was arrested on charges of rape, aggravated assault, robbery and kidnapping in connection with the attack.

According to police, the 26-year-old victim was attacked early Saturday outside of her apartment building in the city's tony Rittenhouse Square neighborhood after leaving a bar after 1 a.m.

The suspect grabbed the victim from behind and forced his way into the building and her apartment, police said.

After assaulting the woman, the attacker stole her iPhone and house keys, then returned minutes later to assault her again, police said.

Local media reported that the victim's keys were in Garcia-Vazquez's possession at the time of his arrest.

Garcia-Vazquez was being held without bail. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says Garcia-Vazquez had been deported June 2013.

ICE has lodged a detainer order against him, meaning if he were released on bail by local law enforcement, he would be turned over to federal authorities.  


(Reporting by Daniel Kelley in New York; Editing by Victoria Cavaliere and Eric Beech)