Thursday, January 13, 2011
NY: Police Search For Suspect In Williamsburg Sex Attacks
NEW YORK – Police are desperately trying to find a sexual predator, who has attacked at least two women in Brooklyn this month, before he strikes again.
CBS 2 learned Thursday evening that police were questioning a “person of interest” in connection with the attacks.
Police say both attacks occurred at 8 a.m. in a busy area of Williamsburg just a block away from the 90th precinct.
On New Year’s Day, the suspect followed a 63-year-old woman into an elevator, threatened her with a weapon, forced her off on the 7th floor and then sexually assaulted her, police said.
Several people who live in the building told CBS 2 they know the victim.
“We say ‘hello’ and she looks like a nice person,” neighbor Eva Ocasio told CBS 2′s John Slattery.
“I would warn her life a couple times to be careful, because there’s different people coming in and out of the building and you have to be aware of that,” Lisa Figueroa, who also lives at the building, said.
On Wednesday, police say the suspect struck again, this time following a 49-year-old woman into an elevator before forcing her off at the 15th floor. Police say the attacker fled after the victim fought back and screamed for help, banging on apartment doors.
Residents in the area told CBS 2 that they are concerned – but not terribly surprised.
“I’m not surprised at all,” one man said. “It’s a bad neighborhood in many ways, it’s a good neighborhood and it’s bad, we have good and bad everywhere.”
Some residents said the suspect is well-known in the neighborhood and that he used to frequent a store in the area every day, but when CBS 2 showed employees and customers at the bodega pictures of the suspect, no one could identify him.
Police have not said what type of weapon the suspect has, or claims to have, but they believe he is armed and dangerous.
Women in Williamsburg are on high alert.
“I walk with my daughter, I always walk with somebody, and if I don’t know them I don’t get on the elevator,” Anita Spizay said. “I’d rather wait for the next one to go on up.”
A surveillance camera near the location of Wednesday’s attack captured footage of the suspect.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.