MIDTOWN SOUTH — Police locked down a Midtown office building late Thursday afternoon to catch a man suspected of a home invasion in the area earlier in the day.
The suspect was allegedly burglarizing an apartment at 66 Madison Ave. at around 10 a.m. Thursday when the victim returned home. The burglar knocked her to the ground as he fled the scene, police said.
Then, just before 3 p.m., a witness to the home invasion recognized the suspect in the neighborhood and alerted officers, who chased the man into an office building connected to 261 Fifth Ave., according to police.
The man broke into the basement and tried to hide inside, but police managed to surround the building, cordoning off the sidewalk and keeping employees from entering or exiting the building, according to a police source and several employees in the building.
Judy Medina had gone downstairs at about 3:45 p.m. for a cigarette but when she got to the ground floor she found the search in full swing.
“The elevator opened and there were cops everywhere,” she said.
Many employees inside had no idea what was going on, even as officers armed with automatic weapons swept each floor.
Alyssa Rabinowitz said she was in her office on the 17th floor when she and coworkers noticed a commotion outside and saw people in the building across the street clustered at the window, watching police convene on her building.
She told DNAinfo New York that she and her coworkers remained on lockdown until they received word that the suspect had been caught.
Police also shut down a Starbucks next door, according to customers who said they were held there for about an hour before being released just before 5 p.m.
Police finally located the suspect, who wore a black jacket and red T-shirt and sported a shaved head, shortly before 5 p.m. Several heavily armed officers could be seen leading the man out the front door to a squad car waiting on Fifth Avenue.
Police did not immediately identify the suspect.