Sex Attack Suspect Sought
Queens detectives are trying to determine if a man who stalked and groped a 30-year-old Sunnyside woman early Sunday morning, is the same suspect sought in connection with a series of recent attacks in Jackson Heights.
The victim in the Easter Sunday attack told investigators the man followed her when she exited a nearby No. 7 train at about 5:45 a.m. on April 8.
The woman told police the man grabbed her from behind as she walked near 39th Avenue in the Sunnyside Gardens area. The man pushed her to the ground, dragged her into some curbside bushes, held her down, punched her, slid his hand inside her blouse and fondled her, the victim said.
“He suddenly noticed I was there and he jumped off the woman and ran away,” Novak said.
“I helped the woman out of the bushes and brought her to my house,” the man said. “We helped her clean up a little and called 911.”
The victim was later hospitalized for a head injury she suffered in the attack, police said.
Police are unsure if the suspect is the same man wanted for terrorizing women in Jackson Heights, where he groped four victims on the street in separate incidents.
Cops said the suspect in the Sunnyside Gardens attack closely matches that of the Jackson Heights groper.
The victim in the Easter Sunday attack described the man as Hispanic, about five-feet, seven inches tall, 20-25 years old, with shoulder length black hair. The victim said the man was wearing a white hoodie, police said.
In a press conference held by Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Novak was joined by state Senator Michael Gianaris, Congressmember Joe Crowley and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
“Sunnyside is one of the safest communities in
New York City and we all must be vigilant as a community as the 108th Precinct pursues leads in the case. I will do all I can to assist the NYPD in getting this sexual predator off our streets. We will track down this cowardly criminal and make sure he is punished and put away. I also want to congratulate my friend and neighbor Mike Novak who came to the aid of this woman when he heard her screams,” Van Bramer said.
Police officials released a sketch of the Jackson Heights groper, who they describe as a male Hispanic, 17 to 25 years old, five-feet, fiveinches to five-feet-eight-inches tall, with long dark hair.
Cops said the suspect was wearing a hoodie in each of the Jackson Heights attacks.
“The recent uptick in sex-related attacks in our neighborhood is intolerable. We must do everything in our power to find this criminal and punish him to the full extent of the law. Women in our community should feel comfortable riding the subway, walking the streets and going about their daily activities without feeling threatened. I am glad the victim was not harmed further and I encourage women in our neighborhood to use extra caution when traveling alone until this miscreant is apprehended,” Gianaris said.
The suspect first targeted a 22-year-old woman on March 22 at 8:35 p.m. and struck three times in the following week, fondling women in three separate attacks, police said.
The suspect strikes at random hours, targeting women from 19 to 47 years old, police said.
“It’s really shocking and disturbing that something like this can happen here,” Novak told reporters. “Things like this don’t happen in this neighborhood,” he continued. “This is a close-knit neighborhood where people look out for each other.”
Van Bramer is working with the NYPD at the 108th Precinct to support the full-scale investigation already underway to capture the perpetrator as soon as possible.
Police are urging anyone with information on the suspect in the Jackson Heights or Sunnyside Gardens attacks to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS or click on www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.
The Hotline is offering a $2,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect in the Jackson Heights and