MANHATTAN - A sexual assault in Central Park Friday night has been linked to a frightening pattern of 12 attacks, primarily on the Upper East Side, police said.
In the latest incident, the 28-year-old victim was walking on a path near West Drive and 66th Street, around 10:45 p.m. when she was approached from behind.
The suspect engaged her in conversation and then sexually assaulted her, police said. But the victim turned the tables on the man, punching and kicking him and poking him in the eye, leading him to flee.
The assault came just two days after a woman was attacked on a 6 train between 51st and 68th Streets, police said.
In that case, which unfolded just before 7 p.m. Wednesday, the 27-year-old woman was approached from behind and sexually assaulted.
The Central Park attack also took place just hours after a 26-year-old woman was groped while getting onto a southbound N train at 28th Street.
In that case, which was determined not to be part of the pattern, the suspect, described as a Hispanic man in his 20s, grabbed the victim and fled.
Aside from those incidents, the pint-sized suspect in the pattern, described as 4-foot-11 to 5-foot-3, 120 to 130 pounds and in his 20s, is wanted for 10 other attacks on young women beginning Jan. 5 of this year in Central Park, the Upper East Side, East Midtown and East Harlem.
In the first instances, he approached the women, who are all in their 20s and 30s, from behind at or near their residences and groped them, police said.
Then last month, he allegedly began attacking women in the subway system.
In one case, on July 15, he even set upon a woman who was walking with her children. And in several instances he has struggled with the victims.
The suspect, who has spiky hair that is close-cropped on the side, has been spotted wearing a black turtleneck zipped sweatshirt and blue jeans, a white polo shirt with dark stripes and baggy blue jeans and white sneakers. He has also carried a backpack, police said.
Anyone with tips can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), log onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.