GREENPOINT — Police declined to charge two men detained for raping a woman in a portable restroom Monday afternoon because of "a lot inconsistencies" in the woman's account, the NYPD said.
The 26-year-old woman told detectives that she was approached about 6 p.m. by two men asking for directions outside of 176 Banker St., on industrial strip of warehouses and storage lots, when they pulled her into a portable bathroom and sexually assaulted her, police said.
She said the suspects then stole her phone and fled, according to the NYPD.
On Tuesday, after two men were detained by police and questioned by the Brooklyn District Attorney's office, authorities decided not to arrest the suspects and prosecutors decided not to pursue charges because the woman's story changed, an NYPD spokesman said.
Witnesses on the block, however, described a distraught young woman and two men who appeared to be running from the scene.
Maria Rizzo, 42, chef and owner of the Halcyon Gourmet on the same block, said she was unloading supplies from her car with her husband when she saw two men rushing through, with one of them appearing to pull up his pants.
She remembered chastising her husband for saying to the man, "Pull your pants up and you'd be able to get there faster."
Moments later, she was approached by a jogger who asked for their help with a woman who was on the ground near the portable toilets crying.
"She was distraught. She was shaking, crying, but coherent," Rizzo recounted. The young woman told them that she was at a concert two blocks away and had left to go find another friend who was lost on the way to the venue.
"It all happened really fast," Rizzo said. "This happened in broad daylight. It was 6 o'clock. There were dads and moms pushing kids in strollers. The jogger was jogging safely. I've never felt unsafe. The police precinct is right around the corner."
Robby Collignon, the operations manager at ABC Worldwide Stone, which is also located on the block, said he came upon the victim on the ground minutes later.
"I saw her hysterical," he said. "I tried to console her."
When emergency workers arrived, Collignon rushed to his office across the street and got security camera footage of the two men from his cameras, which he took pictures of with his phone and ran down to show to police and the woman.
"She ID'd them 100 percent without hesitation," he said.
"She even broke out hysterical" Collignon said about when he showed her the picture of the man she said raped her. The other suspect had helped restrain the woman, she told him.
He stayed with detectives for two hours and was there when police radioed that they'd apprehended two suspects at the Barclays Center who matched the photos he'd provided and were in possession of the woman's cellphone.
Investigators didn't have enough evidence to charge the men, a law enforcement source said.
He said he couldn't understand why there were no charges being brought.
"She was coherent, she was completely hysterical. There was no question about anything. She was very clear. There was no back and forth or hemming or hawing," he said. "I'm shocked."