NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A suspect has been arrested and charged in connection with a series of sex assaults that occurred early Tuesday morning on Staten Island.
Taylor Hawkins, 27, of Staten Island, has been charged with attempted rape, robbery, assault, sex abuse, attempted sexually motivated robbery, and other counts in the four Tuesday attacks – as well as a fifth unspecified incident back on Aug. 21.
Hawkins has prior convictions, but only for turnstile jumping and marijuana, police said.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, police had spent the day Tuesday, in helicopters and on foot, canvassing the crime scenes.
The suspect was picked up Tuesday night in the West Brighton area after police spotted him in the vehicle they were looking for in connection with the attacks.
Four women, including a teenage girl, were attacked in the span of an hour.
“Anything can happen around her. It’s dark, and it was dark. You just can’t be by yourself around here as a woman,” Rachel Bohnenberger said.
Police said starting at 5:30 a.m. the suspect went after four different women — all of them alone at bus stops in West Brighton.
A 14-year-old girl was the last of the victims. Police said she was grabbed and hit by the suspect who allegedly tried to force her to perform a sex attack. The teen managed to escape and run to a deli for help.
“She just ran into the store and asked for help. Like, you know, ‘Please call the police, someone tried to rape me,'” said deli worker Nicholas Aguilar. “But already see her face, it was already red, she was crying.”
Brandi Romaine told CBS2 over Facetime that she was in the store and tried consoling the girl until an ambulance arrived.
“She goes into detail — she says the man took her from behind while she was on her phone, tries to choke her,” Romaine said. “She tried to scream, but couldn’t get nothing out.”
Police said the suspect assaulted the three other women all within the same hour before he targeted the teen.
All four victims, who range in age from 14 to 64, were taken to Richmond University Medical Center. Their injuries included cuts and bruises on their mouths, faces and legs.