NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police on Saturday released jarring surveillance video they say shows a woman narrowly escaping a would-be rapist in Queens early Friday.
The footage shows the alleged attacker approaching the woman from behind as she tried to get into her apartment building near the corner of 55th Street and Queens Boulevard in Woodside around 4 a.m.
Investigators say the man violently grabbed her arms and tried to pull her towards him. The woman was able to break free and run away uninjured.
The victim told CBS2’s Clark Fouraker she was walking home from her parked car when she first encountered the man near the train station a few blocks from her home. She said he tried to talk to her, but she avoided him.
“He was trying to reach and grab my arm. And then as I tried to flee from him, he tried to come at me and tried to grab me again,” she said. “I ran and I screamed. That was my first response, because usually I have pepper spray or something, but I also like to travel, so I didn’t have the pepper spray on me at that moment.”
“It happened in front of my house, so obviously I’m very worried, because he knows where I live. You never know when he can come and attack me again,” she said.
Other people Fouraker spoke with said they usually feel safe in the neighborhood.
“I mean, sometimes there are sketchy situations, but for the most part, I find it to be quite safe,” one woman said.
“I thought it’s pretty safe around here. It’s not a usual thing around here,” said another.
The assault victim had a message for others: “Be careful of your surroundings. Always be aware of who’s behind you or who’s around, because I wasn’t looking behind myself.”
Police describe the suspect as an approximately 5’7″, 150 pound white male who was last seen wearing a black short sleeve shirt, white pants, a white t-shirt, and black shoes.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74682). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.