NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man forced his way into New York University’s Catholic Center on Thursday morning and raped a woman, police said.
The attack occurred around 5:30 a.m. in the Thompson Street building, where the 24-year-old woman was confronted as she opened the door, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported. The victim, who works in lay ministry at the center, arrived to set up a breakfast for priests when she was jumped.
The man pushed the woman inside, beat her and raped her, police said. The attacker stole the woman’s iPhone and then fled, police told CBS 2’s John Slattery.
No arrests have been made. Police released surveillance video of the suspect, who is described as a black man with an athletic build wearing a gray sweater, jeans, black fedora and an ace bandage on one arm, Papa reported.
The victim was taken to Best Israel Medical Center with lacerations to her face. Police told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell she has since been released.
Police say the stolen iPhone had the Find My iPhone app on it, which led investigators to a phone store at Seventh Avenue and West 38th Street. The store manager refused to discuss how the phone ended up there.
Surveillance video of suspect:
“I don’t want to leave any statement. Please leave the store,” the manager told Slattery.
Detectives canvassed midtown, showing a photo of the suspect to street merchants.
Police were at the scene all day, taking measurements and lifting fingerprints from the doorway. Yellow police evidence markers, women’s shoes, tights and other items could be seen lining the floor at the Catholic Center.
Students and staff at NYU were alarmed by the attack.
“I was quite shocked frankly and thought it was extra terrible that it happened at our religious center,” Eleanor Hall Watson, an NYU sophomore, told Haskell.
“I’m completely just blown away, particularly in a learning institution like this,” professor Eileen Moon told Slattery. “It’s just heartbreaking.”
“That’s actually really, really surprising,” said student Evelyn Haettenschwiller. “I’ve never felt threatened coming to school.”
“I know when I walk back from the library at like 2 o’clock in the morning, I feel totally safe,” said student Gila Sohn. “So this is like very startling.”
“I’m a little worried because I actually have class really late at night, so I’m concerned about my commute at night,” said Antiqua Mirza.
“It’s terrifying to know that happened today, because I live two blocks down the street,” said Jennifer Holland, of Greenwich Village.
The school is urging anyone with information to call 911 and ask to be connected to the 6th Precinct Detective Squad.
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