A 67-year-old woman was attacked Tuesday afternoon in the bathroom of a bustling Long Island mall by a man who was hiding in one of the stalls, officials said.
The woman walked into the bathroom in a remote section of Riverhead's Tanger Outlets and a man grabbed her from behind and dragged her to the ground, according to police. The attacker was startled when another woman entered the bathroom and fled on foot, police said, eluding K-9 units, other officers and mall security.
The victim suffered bruises and police aren't sure if the assailant intended to sexually assault her.
Other shoppers said they were surprised the attack happened in such a busy shopping center and that it made them worry for their own safety.
"I’m afraid," said Ronni Krentzman. "Sometimes I have my kids with me and God forbid I went in and someone’s in there waiting--you have no idea. It’s very scary"
Investigators are reviewing surveillance video but describe the attacker as a young man in his late teens or early 20s.
The mall's owners say they have beefed up security and the attack was an isolated incident.
Officials are asking anyone with information about the attack to call Riverhead Police at 631-727-4500.