The family of a woman who was attacked outside her home a few weeks ago are elated that the police department has upgraded the classification of the incident.
On Sunday, June 21 at 2:15 a.m. a 22-year old Throggs Neck woman was ambushed outside of her home by an assailant who stalked her as she walked home from a late night of work, according to the NYPD.
A 5-foot, 10-inch man, approximately 27-years old, wearing all black, approached the victim from behind in the vicinity of Hollywood and Barkley avenues, and forcibly grabbed her.
She was returning home from her job at Villa Barone Manor, a few blocks away.
The woman’s father Richard Umlauft said the man wrapped one arm around her throat and pressed his palm over her mouth, warning her to shut up.
His daughter managed to fight him off by spinning around and knocking her assailant off the first landing of the staircase.
After subduing her attacker, she screamed twice for help before calling out to her father.
Immediately, her parents rushed down to help their daughter who was holding onto the door handle as her attacker ran up the stairs and attempted to pull her back down.
As soon as her parents reached her, the suspect fled towards Barkley Avenue.
The 45th Precinct responded to the 911 phone call and accompanied the woman on a canvass of the area, which was unsuccessful.
The police stated the woman did not require any hospitalization following the incident.
Originally classified as “harassment”, the incident is now listed as “criminal obstruction of breathing”, a felony charge.
“She had two pocket books and a new iPhone with her, he wasn’t interested in her money or her jewelry. This was not an attempted robbery,” he said.
“We were extremely disturbed by the way this incident had originally been classified and we want to get the message out there to the community that there is a predator here in the neighborhood,” he added.
Umlauft explained his daughter seldom walks home from work, because she usually gets a ride.
However, after working a long shift that particular night, she did not feel like waiting to be picked up.
It was raining at the time she was walking home and she did not hear anyone following her, Umlauft said.
Umlauft added security footage from three separate cameras captured the suspect following his daughter from a distance of approximately 20 feet as she neared Philip and Lafayette avenues. He appeared to be speaking on his cell phone.
The footage also shows that when the woman arrived at her residence, the suspect was now only a few steps behind her.
Umlauft said they are proud of how their daughter handled the situation and are grateful she was not hurt.
The family is hoping that by sharing their story they will make everyone more aware of their environment.
“Sometimes, we’re so comfortable walking around our communities that we don’t notice things as quickly as we would elsewhere,” Bob Beider, 45th Precinct Community Council president said. “You never really know where crime is going to strike and you need to be vigilant of your surroundings.”