JACKSON HEIGHTS — Police have nabbed the suspect accused of sexually abusing two young girls in a Queens apartment building earlier this week, officials said.
Mario Lopez, 52, a Brooklyn resident, was charged Thursday with luring a child, sexual abuse, burglary and endangering the welfare of a child after prosecutors said he inappropriately touched the 4- and 9-year-old girls in the laundry room of a Jackson Heights building about 7 p.m. Nov. 12.
Lopez told the girls he needed help with his laundry to get them to follow him to the laundry room, prosecutors said. He then sexually abused the children and fled, prosecutors said.
"The defendant is accused of being a sexual predator," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. "Such an allegation makes him a threat to children and a clear and present danger to society in general. Such conduct, if proven true, cannot go unpunished."
If convicted, Lopez faces up to 15 years in prison.
Earlier Thursday, City Councilman Daniel Dromm canvassed the neighborhood with wanted posters showing surveillance photos of the suspect, urging residents to be on the lookout for him.
"A crime like this is horrific," Dromm said.