Accused rapist Robert Johnson turned himself in on Thursday to face charges for three rapes in West Philadelphia, just hours after police publicly identified him as the suspect in recent rapes and robberies.
Johnson, 51, was publicly identified around 11:20 p.m. Wednesday as the suspect wanted in the rapes of three women in two incident and a recent spree of robberies. He turned himself into police Thursday morning, alleviating concerns that being identified might drive him to strike again, investigators said.
“I was concerned in the hours after he knew we knew who he was what would happen,” Special Victims Unit Capt. Mark Burgmann said of Johnson during a press conference on Thursday. “There’s always that fear that someone is going to strike again. … I believed he was going to strike again.”
But instead, Johnson turned himself into police custody on Thursday morning, to face charges including two counts of robbery, three counts of rape, kidnapping, illegal firearms possession and other related charges.
“I was concerned last night, so I was glad when he came in this morning and surrendered,” Burgmann said.
The hunt for Robert Johnson began after a “pattern of sexual assaults” emerged in the Philadelphia Police Department’s 16th and 19th districts in West Philadelphia.
In two separate incidents, Johnson allegedly raped three women. He is also believed linked to robberies around the same time due to a matching modus operandi and description of the suspect, police said.
Robert Johnson Arrested After ‘Pattern’ Emerges
The first sexual assault was on July 17 around 5:45 a.m. near Belmont and Parkside avenues in West Fairmount Park. Johnson allegedly approached the female victim, tapped on her shoulder, then showed her a gun and threatened to shoot her. He forced her to go into the park where he sexually assaulted her before taking her iPhone, Beats headphones and fleeing.
On July 19, around 4:20 a.m., Johnson allegedly approached two women at a gas station near Lancaster and Girard avenues with a gun and forced them to drive him to a location where he sexually assaulted them, then fled after taking $420 in cash.
“He struck three times within two days,” Burgmann said. “They didn’t know him at all. It was very bold and I would say very brazen.”
Robert Johnson is still being investigated for his possible involvement in other robberies.
“It’s somebody who is a predator,” Burgmann said. I’m sure the public is very relieved and I know I am.”