NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The man investigators have called an attempted rapist keeps getting caught on surveillance video, but so far not caught by police.
The NYPD has now linked him to five sexual assaults since December.
“This is an individual we’re very much interested in arresting,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. “We’re certainly applying a lot of extra focus and attention to him.”
On Thursday, police released the latest surveillance video from the suspect, following an attack around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday on the Lower East Side.
The NYPD said the man – in his 20s and wearing a Yankees hat – approached a 31-year-old woman from behind as she was going into her apartment building, grabbed her waist, pulled her pants down.
When the woman yelled, the suspect pushed her away and fled the scene, police said.
“It’s very concerning,” said Sobe Knight, who works on the Lower East Side. “I’ll definitely let my friends know.”
“I live right up the corner, so it definitely, like, makes me — I don’t like to hear that,” said Caroline Blodgett, who lives in the neighborhood.
“I try not to be out late and if I am out late, make sure I’m with someone,” another woman told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones. “Put the electronics away and stay focused.”
Investigators have also linked the suspect to four similar sexual attacks on women since December – three in the East Village and one miles away in West Harlem – all of them in the overnight or early-morning hours.
Two incidents occurred at the Riis and Wald public housing complexes.
“There is no doubt that more needs to be done, but there is a lot more going to be done on putting cameras into the housing developments,” Bratton told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond, Thursday.
On Dec. 9, police said the man grabbed a 25-year-old woman from behind as she was walking into her apartment building, but took off when the woman screamed.
On Dec. 16, he grabbed a 19-year-old woman walking into an elevator and tried to kiss her before she fought him off, police said.
The next day, police said he sexually assaulted a 20-year-old woman walking into her building.
Then on Dec. 28, police said the suspect tried to rape a 22-year-old woman in the stairwell of her apartment building.
“I find that terribly disturbing,” said Reggie Corchado, who lives on the Lower East Side. “I have a wife, I have two daughters, and I hope he gets caught.”
People who live and work in the neighborhoods just hoped police finally catch the suspect.
“Hopefully they’ll find him, and it’s one less person we have to worry about,” said Arthur DiBlasi, who works on the Lower East Side.
DiBiasi said detectives came by to look at the surveillance cameras at the company where he works. The video police released Thursday shows the suspect walking past the business next door.
Police described the suspect as a black man between the ages of 20 and 25, approximately 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighing 150 to 180 pounds. They say he wears a black Yankees baseball hat.
The exact addresses of the attacks have not been released so as to protect the victims.
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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