Search Intensifies for Would-Be Rapist in Inwood
NEW YORK CITY — The hunt continued Wednesday morning for a man who tried to rape a pregnant woman walking her dog in Inwood Sunday morning, cops said.
The 30-year-old woman, whose identity was not released, was walking her dog along West 212nd Street when she passed a man sitting on a bench about 7 a.m.
She eventually doubled back past him and he began to follow her.
The man, who sources said appeared drunk, grabbed her in a bear hug from behind and tried to remove her clothing.
A nearby resident saw the attack and chased him off.
Neighbors said Monday they were shocked and angered by the attack.
"If I had caught him, it would've been street justice," said longtime Inwood resident, Thomas Graham, 50.
Public safety has been a constant topic in Inwood since the attack. City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and borough president candidate Julie Menin handed out flyers about the attack to residents at the 207th Street A train station on Tuesday morning, and the Inwood Astronomy Project held a public safety chat in Inwood Hill Park Monday night.
Several residents have looked into organizing self-defense classes in the neighborhood. Dichter Pharmacy owner Manuel Ramirez said that he has already secured an instructor and will host one class in August, either in shop just north of 207th street or in Isham Park.
“I think that people need to start defending themselves,” said Ramirez. “We need to mobilize and get people aware of what’s going on.”
Inwood resident Lisa Ruiz noted that demand for a class is strong. Ruiz, who moved to Inwood from Florida four months ago said that she received over 30 responses to two posts on the Inwood Community Group Facebook page seeking interested participants.
“The response is overwhelming,” Ruiz said, adding that she hopes to find an instructor and hold a class in Inwood Hill Park soon. “A lot of women are very concerned for their safety.”
Police released video Monday of the suspect trailing the woman and then attacking her. Investigators re-canvassed the area Tuesday and released new footage of the man they say is the suspect, shown in a bodega purchasing a canned drink.
Investigators said the suspect is in his late 20s, about 6 feet tall, and approximately 180 pounds.
He was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue denim shorts and a dark visor, cops said.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).