NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police were warning women to be on the lookout for a sexual predator, Kathryn Brown reports.
Inwood Park was crowded with families and children on a Sunday afternoon, but Friday night near dusk it became a sexual predator’s playground.
Police said a man struck up a conversation with a 28-year-old woman who was walking near the ball fields, forced her into a secluded area of the park and sexually assaulted her.
“That’s frightening,” said Shannon Goss of Washington Heights.
“Ugh I have chills,” said Khi Williams of Inwood Park. “I hadn’t heard.”
Williams said she wasn’t surprised, as just last Sunday, she and a friend got a scare while walking through the woods.
“Then some guy came up in front of us behind a rock and was like peeping at us, and we got so freaked out that we left immediately,” she said.
When Kathryn Brown showed her the sketch of the attacker in Friday’s incident, Williams’ reaction was instant and chilling.
“Oh, oh God, I can’t, I can’t say for sure but that face is similar,” she said.
The suspect in Friday’s attack was described as an Hispanic man between the ages of 30 and 35, around 5’7″ of 5’9″ tall, and weighing nearly 180 pounds.
He wasn’t wearing a shirt at the time of the incident but was wearing some type of blue adornment around his neck and khaki shorts. Police said he rode away on a red bicycle.
Part of the park is somewhat secluded and off the beaten path, close to the river. It’s part of the reason some women told Brown that they avoid this area entirely at night.
“I’m not surprised because this is kind of out of the way at the end, at a dead end,” said Donna Shephard of Washington Heights.
Police and parkgoers were hoping someone recognizes the man before he strikes again.
Police said the man sexually assaulted a 37-year-old woman inside her apartment building in Washington Heights early Saturday morning.
The suspect, armed with a knife, allegedly confronted the woman on the fifth floor then took her to the eighth floor where he assaulted and robbed her.
Police said the suspect was caught on surveillance camera before leaving the building.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers’ website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577.
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