NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD is searching for a suspect wanted for holding a teenage girl at knifepoint in Brooklyn and raping her.
Neighbors told CBS2’s John Dias they believe a broken front door to a Brownsville apartment building may have contributed to the attack.
“I came down yesterday morning and I just saw crime tape on the second floor, first floor. I came home yesterday evening and saw that,” one resident said after seeing police dust for fingerprints.
Remnants of the dust was left all over the walls of an alcove of the lobby and second floor stairwell of a public housing building at 672 Ralph Ave.
Authorities said a 19-year-old girl was raped there. The incident has left neighbors on edge.
WANTED for RAPE: On 12/28/20 @ 12:15AM, vicinity of East New York Ave & Ralph Ave @NYPD73Pct. The subject approached the victim from behind, held a knife to her throat, led her to a location & raped her. Any info call us @ 800-577-TIPS or DM NYPDTips Reward up to $2500. pic.twitter.com/nn4PuMFECC
— NYPD Crime Stoppers (@NYPDTips) December 29, 2020
Surveillance cameras captured the alleged suspect moments before the rape. He was last seen wearing a beige jacket over a red hoodie.
Police say shortly after midnight Monday he grabbed the teenager from behind at the corner of East New York and Ralph avenues, held a kitchen knife to her throat and threatened to kill her if she resisted.
Police said the suspect then led the teenager into the apartment building, called the Ralph Avenue Houses. Neighbors said like Tuesday, the door was broken and unlocked. Police said the suspect took advantage of the victim and then ran away.
“It sucks. It really do,” one neighbor said.
That man lives in the apartment next to where the incident happened. He blamed the New York City Housing Authority for managing unsafe buildings.
“Forget the NYPD — they will do their job — but housing has gotta to do more to protect the people in the building,” the resident said.
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Other neighbors admitted NYCHA fixes the lock often after it breaks, but this time it has been broken for almost a year, and they’ve complained.
“That door, they put a lock and they break it. I don’t know why. I guess we need security over here,” Nina Vazquez said.
Neighbors said they believe neither the suspect nor the victim lives in the building. Police said the teenage girl was treated and released from the hospital, but the suspect is still on the run.
A spokesperson for NYCHA told CBS2, “This is a police matter.”
Anyone with information about the attack is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.
CBS2’s John Dias contributed to this report