Reporting Pablo Guzmán
NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — Police were questioning a suspect early Saturday morning in the brutal sexual assault of a City College student.
The development came on Friday afternoon after police spent the previous night and Friday morning hunting for the man who robbed and sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman in the middle of the day Thursday after following her home.
Police confirmed to CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez and Derricke Dennis early Saturday morning that person of interest is a suspect. However, no arrest has been made and the investigation will likely last through the weekend.
The suspect in the attack made one major mistake when he was caught, plain as day, on surveillance tape at a nearby deli, reports CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman. He was captured on the security cameras outside and inside the building where the woman was attacked, as well as the surveillance camera that caught him about a mile away, police said, using the debit card he stole from the woman he had just allegedly assaulted.
Detectives were pulling in video from cameras across northern Manhattan, tracking the man’s movements.
When he used the ATM card, detectives scrambled to Yousef Ali’s Seven Seas Deli at 135th Street and Eighth Avenue. Ali said he was happy to help police.
“It could be anybody: your sister, mother, cousin, family members,” Ali said. “So I think people should do the right things, and work with the police, and try to do the right things as you’re supposed to be.”
Police said the man caught on camera overwhelmed the 21-year-old college student at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, sexually assaulting her before stealing her debit card.
Residents from all over are on edge.
“We’re not safe in our own block where we grew up at,” one woman told 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney.
Jessica Pena lives in the apartment below the woman who was attacked.
“I saw when they were bringing her out downstairs – she was crying, she was hysterical, she was nervous,” Pena said. “Her shirt was all turned up, everything.”
The incident has made other college students in the city apprehensive.
“Well, you’d think you’d be safer in daylight and in your own apartment, but I guess not,” Anastasia Meleties, a student at City College of New York, said.
“I usually don’t walk around with fear,” said Maria Terrero of Harlem.
Neighbors described the area as fairly safe, but it has been tainted by crime recently, including at least seven rapes over the last 15 months. Those attacks were thought to be unrelated.
“They had posters up warning all the students, all the female students to be careful so it’s scary that this is happening again,” said student Brittany Jerez.
“I’m going to be safe and whomever comes in behind me, if I don’t know where they going, I’m not going to let them in the building,” said resident Stacey Milton.
“It really really bothers me. Of course it’s very disconcerting to hear that what happened here, in broad daylight,” another resident said.
Police said the attacker never showed a gun to his victim, but still they were considering him armed and dangerous and were hoping someone recognizes his face and turns him in.
People who live in the area want him off the streets as well. “I think I’m going to the Community Board and alert them about this and see what can be done,” said Terrero.
CCNY student Latanya Coleman said she hopes that police presence will be increased.
“It’s sad. I mean we need more police I guess,” Coleman said.
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