Police Nab Suspect in Manhattan Groping Attacks

By Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz
|  Tuesday, Aug 9, 2011  |  Updated 6:06 PM EDT
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Police Nab Groping Suspect

The Upper East Side groper.

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Police have apprehended the man they believe is behind the series of groping attacks along the Upper East Side and in Central Park, NBC New York has learned.
 
Sources say Jose Hernandez, an 18-year-old restaurant worker at Antonucci Cafe on East 81st Street, was taken into custody overnight at his Queens home after police got a tip.
 
He stopped showing up for work about 10 days ago, near when the time police released an image of his face captured on surveillance video.
 
Police believe the groper is responsible for as many as a dozen groping incidents.

The attacks are believed to have begun in January, and most occurred on the Upper East Side in the lobbies or entryways of the victims' homes.

He would come up behind women and grab them in the groin, breasts or rear end. He often reached up their skirts.

In recent days, the suspect has moved away from buildings, striking on a No. 6 train at 68th Street and Lexington Avenue last week, and inside Central Park on Friday.

The police tip came from a man who works in the Upper East Side building that houses the restaurant where Hernandez was employed.

Women on the Upper East Side said they had been concerned about the groper reports.

"I feel better already," said Hilary Beckman.

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