NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man who allegedly forced a 7-year-old girl to commit a sex act hours after allegedly groping another child is now being linked to a third incident.READ MORE: COVID Hospitalizations Drop For 4th Straight Day Across New York State
Police said a man driving a tan van exposed himself to a 13-year-old girl and then trailed her for several blocks Thursday afternoon.
The man fits the description of the suspect sought in connection with two incidents in South Ozone Park that occurred within hours of each other on Wednesday. All three incidents happened in the area of 115th Street and Sutter Avenue, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported Friday.
“We have another incident, a third incident that we are at least at this time linking to the other two,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. “There’s a 13-year-old girl who sees an individual… exposing himself in a car. The description is roughly the same.”
In the first incident Wednesday, the suspect followed two sisters, ages 7 and 12, as they walked home from school, Kelly said. When the younger girl bent down to tie her shoe, the suspect grabbed her buttocks and walked off mumbling, Kelly said.
Then around 6 p.m. Wednesday, a man believed to be the same suspect forced another 7-year-old girl to commit a sex act, Kelly said. The girl had hopped over a fence to retrieve a basketball at the time of the incident, Kelly said.
The neighborhood is nervous.
“I feel so bad, because, I mean it’s a little kid, you know? I hope they catch the person,” grandmother Bibi Salim said.READ MORE: New Jersey Officials Warn Storm Will Bring Dangerous Mix Of Snow, Freezing Rain And Strong Winds
“I think it’s scary because this area is supposed to be a really safe area. So its unusual,” said 21-year-old neighbor Crystal Singh, who has an 8-year-old sister.
“Yeah, because I got two kids too, and I don’t want the same thing that happened to the girl to happen to my kids,” Ivan Yagual added.
Police have released surveillance images and a sketch of the suspect.
Police have also placed posters throughout the neighborhood with images and a description of the suspect who is believed to be in his 20s, around 6-foot, 160 pounds with black hair. The suspect was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt with white writing on the front, dark jeans and was carrying a purple back pack.
A $12,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and indictment of the suspect. There’s also an NYPD mobile command post set up, as a makeshift precinct, and officers are being deployed door to door for information.
“The best thing we can do is all be alert [to] what’s been going on and hopefully report anything we see suspicious,” Yagual said.
“It could be anybody, and the guy could still be just walking around, nobody really noticing, because it’s a picture, but not really clear enough for me,” resident Arlene Delgado said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (5477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
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