University and Philadelphia Police have caught the man they think is responsible for a string of stabbings in the University area after three more knifepoint attacks early yesterday morning. Philadelphia Police arrested a West Philadelphia man yesterday just after 7 a.m., moments after he allegedly robbed a resident at knifepoint at 33rd and Market streets. Police immediately linked him to the stabbings of two University students the same morning. University and Philadelphia Police said they believe the man stabbed a Wharton senior at about 6:30 a.m. at a parking lot at 37th and Walnut streets and a Wharton sophomore at 39th and Chestnut streets at about 2:30 a.m. Both students received minor stab wounds to the back. One was also stabbed in the leg and the other slashed across the neck. Both students were treated for their wounds and released. Both students, Philadelphia Police and University Police detectives said yesterday's attacks resemble three others in the University area last week. In all of the incidents, the assailant has stabbed his victims first and then demanded money. Victims described the attacker as extremely agitated. The suspect, Wayne Christian, 30, of West Philadelphia, was charged yesterday with three counts each of robbery, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and several other crimes. University Police would not release Christian's address. He is scheduled to appear in court November 14 for a preliminary hearing. As of Tuesday evening, Christian was still awaiting arraignment. At the time of his arrest, Christian was carrying a 10-and-a-half inch butcher knife, believed to have been used in each of the crimes. Philadelphia Police 18th District Captain Edward D'Amato said Christian is a suspect in last week's three other stabbings. "The MOs [methods of operation] are similar and the descriptions are good," D'Amato said. "He is being looked at very seriously for the other incidents." "We're just extremely happy that he's been apprehended," University Police Detective Michael Carrol said. "He's a one-man crime wave." Reports of random stabbings have worried students and police for a week. A 1990 University graduate said he was stabbed at 41st and Chestnut streets on October 28. A Dental School student said he was also stabbed later that same day at 34th and Market streets by a man with a similar description and carrying a butcher knife. A University student said he witnessed another stabbing last Tuesday night at 43rd and Sansom streets in which the attack mirrored previous incidents. D'Amato said some of his officers met with University Police last week about the stabbings and had been planning a joint investigation. A city detective, believing the perpetrator was a local homeless man, said Tuesday morning he had spent much of the previous day fruitlessly staking out the 34th and Market Street subway station. D'Amato said the arrest was a "good break." Philadelphia Police arrested Christian at 32nd and Market streets after a local resident reported she had been attacked by him. She told police he knocked her down and threatened her with the knife but the man did not stab her and stole nothing. After she identified the man as her assailant, the student who was robbed at 37th and Walnut streets 30 minutes earlier also identified the man. In addition to the knife, Christian was also carrying credit cards believed to have been stolen in the 2:30 a.m. robbery. The Wharton sophomore said he was returning to the Hamilton Court apartments at 39th and Chestnut around 2:30 a.m. and was just feet from the door when he was hit from behind. "Suddenly I felt something in my back," he said. "Then a second later I was being hit in the spine and I was on the ground." He said a tall man stood over him and started shaking a butcher knife near his neck. The man struck him in the neck with the knife, opening a small wound. The man then yelled at the student to hand over his money. The man took the student's wallet and fled toward 40th Street. The student was treated at Student Health and released. He said neither of his stab wounds were very serious. "The real problem I'm getting is from swelling and bruises in pretty much every muscle group in my back from being knocked to the ground," he said. The other student said he was walking through the parking lot at 37th and Walnut streets at about 6:30 a.m. when he heard running footsteps behind him. He said he was hit in the back and he fell to the ground. "In front of me was a guy waving a knife and screaming, 'Give it up, give it up,' " he said. The student kicked his assailant once while lying on his back, after which the attacker slashed his leg with the knife. When the man demanded the suspect's wallet, the student stood up, threw his backpack at the man and ran away. The student went to Steinberg-Dietrich Hall where University Police met him. He was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for treatment and released. He said he was impressed with the quick reaction of both University and Philadelphia Police. University and Philadelphia Police representatives were quick to praise each other for the arrests, saying it was a good example of a joint effort between the two departments.Comments powered by Disqus
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