There is now a third suspect, but still no arrests in the string of sexual assaults that have plagued the area since March.
At a Community Board 7 Public Safety Committee meeting held Tuesday night at , Deputy Inspector Raul Pintos, commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct, said that two additional women have reported being assaulted, bringing the total number of attacks to 10.
The last reported attack happened on September 8 at about 11:30 p.m. The suspected attacker grabbed a woman from behind while she was walking on 12th Street between Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West. She screamed and her neighbors chased away the creep.
She described him as a man standing 5-foot-4 with dark hair and wearing a black tank top.
Police are now looking for as many as three suspects instead of the lone man that was initially thought to be the culprit for the sexual assaults across Park Slope, Sunset Park, Windsor Terrace and South Slope.
“We’re changing our approach for there to be the possibility of more than one suspect, which means that we’re looking at geographic patterns [of the assaults] now instead of patterns of the same offender,” said Pintos. “We thought we had the identity of the suspect, but when we included him in a photo line-up to one of the victims, she didn’t point him out.”
Pintos confirmed specific physical descriptions for one of the suspects in question. Police are now on the lookout for a Hispanic male between 20 and 30 years old, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-9, weighing around 165 pounds and with visible muscle tone. It was also confirmed that one of the victims saw the perp run into the driver’s seat of a cream-colored Chevy van after the .
The majority of the victims have been petite, white females in their 20s and wearing skirts. Most of the incidents have taken place on weekend evenings between 8:30 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Since the possibility of additional suspects has been confirmed, sketches of all three potential culprits have been released to the public through the NYPD and all tips are being directly forwarded to the Special Victims Unit.
Two of the sexual assaults took place within the confines of the 78th Precinct while others occurred in the 72nd and the 68th precincts. Pintos said that each precinct will work together and share all relevant information with one another.
The police are bolstering their presence on the street with both uniformed and plain-clothes, undercover officers.
“A friend of mine told me she was stopped in South Slope by a police officer who actually talked to her about the incidents in the area,” said Liza Trinkle, a founding member of . “It’s nice to see people are actually recognizing the increase in officers throughout the area.”
However, some of those in attendance were still not fully convinced that the 72nd Precinct would handle future sexual assault incidents effectively. Neighbors who called the police to respond to the September 8 attack said the cops never showed. But, the police said they did not receive a call.
“Initially, there wasn’t a response [from the 72nd Precinct] and that’s why these rallies started taking place,” said local resident Bo Samajopoulos. “What does it take to trigger the proper response, the response that we’re getting now, so that we can work with the police in the future?”
Pintos said he disagreed with Samajapoulos and believed that the 72nd Precinct gave every case the individual attention it deserved.