2000-11-29 / Front Page

Astoria/Jackson Heights Assault Suspect Arrested In Manhattan

By John Toscano

Astoria/Jackson Heights Assault Suspect
Arrested In Manhattan

A man suspected of committing a series of rapes in Astoria and Jackson Heights, as well as in Manhattan, was arrested last Friday night following a Manhattan robbery and shortly afterward confessed his alleged involvement in the attacks.

The suspect, Frederick Edward Monroe, 35, was charged only with the Friday night robbery, in which he used the same ruse as the rapist to gain entrance to an apartment, that he had come to fix a water leak.

Police said charges in the other attacks were pending until victims in some of the 11 other crimes Monroe is suspected of had a chance to look at and possibly identify him.

That might be difficult since victims in the rapes had given different descriptions of the perpetrator.

Police said Monroe had been sentenced in 1989 to four to 12 years in prison on attempted murder and robbery charges and was paroled in June 1993. But he was subsequently returned to prison after being arrested again in Rochester and his parole was revoked on Apr. 6, 1999, and he was sentenced to six to 18 years in prison. But he was paroled again only eight months later, which wasn’t explained by police.

Monroe was to have remained under parole supervision until 2006, but he failed to report to his parole officer, and on Oct. 4th a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The string of four sexual assaults and seven robberies dates back about five weeks, police said. In one, the suspect followed a teen-age Astoria public school student home, where she was alone as her parents were at work. He told her the landlord had sent him to repair a water leak and she admitted him into her apartment where he raped her.

The suspected rapist used the same ruse to gain entry into a Jackson Heights apartment where another teen-age girl was assaulted.

Following these assaults, police of the 114th Precinct in Astoria issued a sketch of the suspected "Latchkey Rapist," describing him as a light skinned Hispanic man between 20 and 30 years old, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighing approximately 160 pounds, with short black hair and a thin beard.

Following Monroe’s arrest last Friday evening, police described him as being 6 feet 1 inch tall and of medium to stocky build. In a photo of him released by police, he appears to be a light-skinned black man, with a round face, short hair, and no beard.

In one newspaper report of Monroe’s arrest, police reportedly said that Monroe was linked by DNA evidence to at least two of the sexual attacks and that some victims had identified him as their attacker.

Several hours before Monroe was arrested last Friday, police had held a press conference to ask for the public’s help in arresting the attack suspect.

Police aid he was dangerous because he became increasingly more aggressive after gaining entry into an apartment.

At about 6:30 p.m. last Friday, Monroe, using the water leak ruse, allegedly gained entry into an Upper West Side Manhattan apartment. A 19-year-old man recently arrived from Japan identified as Koki Uneno, who is living there with an aunt, was home alone. Police said Monroe overpowered Uneno and forced him to give up $400 cash and some jewelry. Monroe then handcuffed him to a shower curtain bar and fled.

Security men from the building were already searching the building for an intruder who had tried unsuccessfully to get into half a dozen other apartments before Monroe managed to get admitted to Uneno’s apartment. The security men were waiting at the ground floor elevator as Monroe, yellow laundry bag in hand, attempted to leave. They held him for the police.

After his arrest, Monroe complained he was diabetic and needed medical assistance. He was taken to a hospital where it was determined this was not true. Several hours later, police said, he confessed to being the man wanted in the sexual assaults and other crimes.

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