What to Know
- The man allegedly helped the woman when she fell getting out of the subway station, then followed her to her apartment building
- Police say he trailed the woman inside and up the stairs, then grabbed the woman between floors
- Residents say a faulty entrance door leaves them vulnerable to such attacks
A 19-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly following a woman seven blocks to her apartment after she tripped coming out of a subway station and trying to rape her in the stairwell of her building.
Police say the 19-year-old suspect, Sammy Bensabeur, initially helped the 38-year-old woman after she tripped and fell as she walked out of the 25th Street R station Saturday night. After helping her up, Bensabeur allegedly followed the woman seven blocks to her building near Fourth Avenue, trailed her inside and up the stairs, then grabbed her between the first and second floors.
A struggle between two ensued, until the victim fell on the stairs and Bensabeur sexually abused her, police allege. He ran off after the attack and was taken into custody Tuesday.
Bensabeur was charged with attempted rape, attempted criminal sex act and unlawful imprisonment, among other crimes. Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available.
The victim sustained minor injuries and refused medical attention at the scene. The woman told authorities that she did not know her attacker.
Some residents complained that a faulty entrance door left them vulnerable to attacks like the one the victim endured. Jennifer Pereira, a resident in the building, said that doors were a problem prior to the attack.
"[The attack] doesn't surprise me because the doors over here don't even have a lock," she said. "I tried to tell the landlord about that."
The building's landlord told NBC 4 New York that he feels bad for the woman, but he's fixed the door about a dozen times, only for it to be broken again.