NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police late Tuesday were searching for a suspect who attempted to rape a woman in an East Harlem building this week.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the young man had red shoes on his feet and bad intentions on his mind.
Around 7:15 p.m. Monday, the suspect followed a 31-year-old woman into her building and attempted to rape her as she climbed the stairs to her apartment in a building near 102nd Street and Park Avenue, police said.
Police said the suspect yanked the woman’s skirt.
The victim fought off the suspect and he ran off into the lobby, police said.
First-floor resident Luisa Cancel heard the victim cry out.
“She was saying: ‘Please, help me! Help me!’ That’s all. But I don’t open the door,” Cancel said. “I’m alone, and I’m 80 years old. I’m too old to be nosy.”
At the front door, the young man was briefly delayed. A man in white who appears in the video told the victim he did not have a phone to call 911.
The suspect managed to escape. Police have posted fliers with his picture in the neighborhood.
They said the suspect was wearing a black and yellow T-shirt with the words, “The Next” on it.
“I truly believe in cameras because the camera caught everything,” said Nancy Vega of East Harlem. “People need to know because the word has to get out. You know, any woman should feel comfortable walking down the street.”
The 23rd Precinct where the attack happened has seen 23 misdemeanor sex assaults so far this year – a level number over the same period last year.
The incident reminded residents to be aware of their surroundings.
“I think that you should always be vigilant, and always, you know, scan your surroundings,” said Sophie Janvier, “because you never know.”
The suspect was described as a Hispanic male about 18 years old, standing about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 130 pounds.
In the surveillance video, the suspect is seen holding a shirt against his face – maybe hiding and maybe wiping away blood. Police said the victims scratched the suspect’s face as she fought him off.
Anyone with information was asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS or (888) 57-PISTA for Spanish, log onto the Crime Stoppers website, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.