NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parents in the Bronx have been urged to be on the lookout for a predator who has been grabbing girls and young women in the street.
As CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported Tuesday, police said he’s attacked at least nine girls and women since February. The victims range in age from 12 to 21.
The attacks have left residents profoundly frightened.
“That’s scary, because what do you do?” said Jenna Spindler.
Even the thought of being groped frightens Spindler, who lives in the Edenwald section of the Bronx where the groping incidents happened.
“Nobody wants to be touched by a stranger, especially like that,” Spindler said.
The most recent incidents happened on June 11, when police said the man targeted a 21-year-old woman on Fish Avenue and then 15 minutes later, forcibly touched a 12-year-old girl as she was walking on Schieffelin Avenue – on a block lined with a playground and a middle school.
The first incident happened back on February 13, when police said he groped a 14 year-old girl as she was walking to the train on Eastchester Road.
The scenes of the crimes were all less than two miles apart, and the junction of East 233rd Street and White Plains Road was at the center of them all.
On Tuesday morning, NYPD officers patrolled the area and handed out fliers with a sketch of the suspect.
“I’m worried, like, that’ll happen to me,” said Himioce Guijarro of Edenwald. “I feel that the streets aren’t safe now.”
Police said each incident happened between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. when the streets are packed with people, including kids going to school, often without an adult.
“A lot of them walk to school by themselves,” said resident Lashelle Davis. “That’s why I take my kids to school because I’d go crazy if somebody come and touched mine.”
Neighbors were shocked that the suspect targeted a girl as young as 12.
“I’m disgusted – that’s ridiculous,” said Edenwald resident Seritta Moore. “We have to be careful as a community. If you see something, say something.”
The suspect is described by police as a black man, about 20 years old, 5-foot-10 with a thin build. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie, blue jeans and black sneakers.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
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