NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police are searching for a man they say tried to rape a woman while she was jogging inside a Bronx park.
It happened around 7:50 a.m. Monday at Bronx River Forest park near 204th Street and Webster Avenue.
Police said the suspect followed the 35-year-old victim, came up behind her and placed his hand over her mouth and arm across her chest, trying to pull her backwards.
She fought him off, yelled for help and kept running farther into the park, police said.
Police said the woman came across the man again while she was leaving the park and managed to take a picture of him.
“Wow, that is scary,” one woman told CBS2’s Reena Roy. “Too many bushes and trees, I’m scared. So I come early and I don’t stay late.”
“This is always my greatest fear. I always walk with that in the back of my mind,” another woman added. “It is scary. I don’t want to know that I can’t come out and exercise.”
“This is kind of a family park. People come here to run with their dogs, with their kids. So it’s very unfortunate that happened,” Bronx resident Marc Duplessy said.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man, 17 to 25 years old with a slim build. He was last seen wearing a white hooded sweatshirt with a black shirt across his chest, black shorts and white sneakers.
The victim was treated for minor injuries.
The NYPD insists crime is down overall, but rapes are up 34 percent: 912 from the first six months of 2018 compared to 680 in 2017.
“Rape we always known has been an often under-reported crime. Statistically, nationally they say it’s one of the most under-reported crimes there are,” NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said during Tuesday’s briefing on crime statistics in the city. “That’s the one crime that we look at going up that you’ve got to weigh – it’s actually a good thing, because more people are coming forward, especially when we see it in domestic violence cases, because those are the ones that never come forward and now we’re seeing a huge uptick in people coming forward.”
Police are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with info is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-700-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, or by texting a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.