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Police Seek Surveillance Video In Midtown Sex Assault Of Australian Tourist

Authorities Asking Anyone With Information About Incident To Contact Police
Midtown Sex Assault Suspect

A sketch of a suspect who police said sexually assaulted a woman in Midtown. (credit: NYPD)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Investigators are looking for surveillance video after police said a woman was sexually assaulted Sunday night near a popular nightclub in Midtown.

The incident happened at about 3:30 a.m. on East 58th Street. The victim, a 20-year-old tourist from Australia, had just walked out of the trendy nightspot Lavo, police said.

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, the trendy nightspot 39 E. 58th St. is packed every day of the week.

“On a given Saturday night in Midtown, this place would be completely packed it would hard to get a cab; tough to walk three steps without bumping into anyone,” said Sarah Leshner of the Upper East Side.

The young woman got into a cab, but police said she began arguing with the driver – possibly over the fare – and quickly got out.

As she walked down 58th Street, sending a text message, she was grabbed from behind before being forced into an alleyway and sexually assaulted, CBS 2’s Tony Aiello reported.

Residents couldn’t believe it happened in the bustling 24-hour district.

“That’s pretty scary. I feel safe here, but I leave work late sometimes and that really puts my guard up,” resident Joanna Mancuso said.

“That’s pretty shocking because this is a well maintained neighborhood and incidents of that nature don’t usually happen,” resident Donald Beldock added.

“I’m shocked, shocked,” said Sadako Yamachai. “I don’t think I should be walking around here.”

“It’s very surprising anything could happen, so outrageous,” said Seth Bell. “It’s very well lit; there are a lot of people. I don’t know how nobody saw anything.”

The victim reported the assault after returning to West 71st Street, where she was staying.

Police said the tourist could not remember a lot of the details of the attack, but was able to help police put together a sketch.

Investigators said the victim admitted she had been drinking that night and can’t pinpoint exactly where the attack happened, only that she picked up her taxi at Lavo, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.

Police describe the attacker as a black man, aged 35-40, about 6-2 inches tall, and weighing about 190 pounds.

Police are also working to see if the assault is related to at least one other attack where the victim was grabbed from behind.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.

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