NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The NYPD announced late Thursday night it had made an arrest following an investigation into a pair of sexual assaults in Brooklyn this month.
CBS 2 learned earlier in the day that police had been questioning a “person of interest” in connection with the attacks. However, they have since arrested 21-year-old Rayquan Williams of Brooklyn and hit him with a series of charges, including sex abuse, menacing and robbery.
Police said both attacks occurred around 8 a.m. in a busy area of Williamsburg just a block away from the 90th Precinct.
On New Year’s Day, the suspect allegedly 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,” said Lisa Figueroa, who also lives in the building.
Police said the suspect struck again on Wednesday, this time following a 49-year-old woman into an elevator before forcing her off on the 15th floor. Police said the attacker fled after the victim fought back and screamed for help and banged on apartment doors.
Residents in the area told CBS 2 that they were 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 had, or claimed to have had, but they believe he was armed and dangerous.
Women in Williamsburg were 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.