NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parkgoers are on edge after police say a man posing as a good Samaritan attacked and tried to rape a woman in Central Park.
It happened around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday at 64th Street and West Drive.
A 30-year-old Broadway actress told police she was walking along the jogging path after leaving work in Midtown when she was attacked, authorities said.
She was intoxicated and investigators believe the man offered to help her, police said. Instead, the suspect pinned her down and tried to rape her, police said.
The victim fought back, screaming and hitting her attacker with her purse until he yanked it away and ran off, police said.
“I find it to be very upsetting because I have to come in the park with my dogs and a lot of times there are people hanging out around here, smoking weed and stuff and it’s very unsavory to say the least,” parkgoer Teresa Andrejka told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown.”
“Scared. I’m here all the time,” another parkgoer said. “That’s a horrible thing. This is my backyard, very scary.”
The suspect was seen on surveillance video in the area.
Upper West Side resident John Secor said he recognized the suspect as someone he saw late Monday night as he was walking his dog.
“There was him kind of wandering around, using his hands and gesturing strangely,” he said. “The first thing we thought was ‘oh my gosh, we were there a few hours before this happened.'”
It’s unclear where the two met or why the suspect may have targeted the victim, but police don’t believe the two knew each other before the incident, Brown reported.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
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