A serious of assaults on young women in Throggs Neck has many in the community on edge, urging caution and vigilance.
Police released a sketch of a Hispanic man between 25-years-old and 35-years-old they believe is responsible for four forcible touching incidents that have escalated in terms of violence.
Police have distributed the sketch through out the neighborhood, mostly on storefronts on East Tremont Avenue in the 45th Precinct.
The flier indicates the culprit is 160 pounds and between 5’10” and 6’0” tall.
The first incident occurred at Hatting Place and Pennyfield Avenue, when the individual grabbed a 16-year-old’s buttocks at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 24.
The following incident occurred at Logan and Barkley avenues at 10:20 p.m. on Monday, May 20, when he grabbed a 15-year-old’s breasts and buttocks.
From there, things apparently took a more violent turn.
A 16-year-old was approached near Philip Avenue and the Cross Bronx Expressway at 10:15 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, and punched in the face before being groped.
The latest incident was on Wednesday, July 3 near Edison and Barkley avenues.
A 22-year-old woman reported that she was approached by a man fitting the description of the previously described groper, who dragged her by the neck as he tried to pull her into his vehicle before fleeing.
John Marano, a community leader and retired law enforcement officer who lives in Throggs Neck, suggests that young women or men who are walking alone stay in contact with a person on the phone, while at the same time staying alert of their surroundings.
“If you have to be on the phone with anyone, be on the person you are going to,” said Marano. “If something does happen, the person on the phone will know where you are.”
He also suggests that people looking to protect themselves carry a mini-LED flashlight if they are walking alone at night.
This is something that could be used to distract a would-be perpetrator and give the would-be victim a split-second to get away, and if necessary, it could be even used in physical self-defense if jabbed at a perpetrators throat, eyes or privates.
“Keep the flashlight on,” said Marano urging vigilance. “Especially (at this point), this guy is paying attention and preying on people who aren’t paying attention. Think about what you are going to do if someone approaches you.”
Bob Bieder, 45th Precinct Community Council president, said he believes there may have been other groping incidents by this individual, and he urges all women have been forcibly touched, no matter how minor, to report it.
“Here is a guy who has been involved in four incidents since March, and I would guess that there could be other instances where he did more minor things that weren’t reported,” said Bieder.
Getting more information could help police better identify a pattern, he said.
“Even if it’s a guy who just ran by and grabbed you, report it,” said Bieder.
Bieder said he is a firm believer of safety in numbers, and urged people who are concerned to walk with at least one other person if possible.
Anyone with information in regard to these incidents is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).