There is an all-out search for the man police said waited for his victim at her home, threatened her with a knife, and dragged her into a local Bronx park where he raped her Tuesday — in broad daylight.
The NYPD continues to investigate the attack as detectives were seen at St. Mary's Park Wednesday, looking for details as well as witnesses at this point. Neighbors in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx were stunned to hear that a woman was raped and robbed inside the park around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The victim, a mother, said she is now too scared to return to her home, and that she and her family are looking for move out as soon as possible. In a phone interview, she told NBC New York that she is traumatized from the attack, as is her eldest son, who got a look at her attacker.
The 38-year-old said she was walking towards her home after dropping off her son at an elementary school, and was about to step inside. That's when surveillance video showed a man kneeling outside the entrance to the home, located not far from the entrance to the park.
She was about to step inside her apartment when the man in the red hooded sweatshirt lurking by her stairs pounced. His face was covered, but the knife in his hand was not.
The victim said that the man wanted to go inside her home. She refused to let him in – because her 17-year-old son was inside. That's when the suspect allegedly displayed the knife and demanded the victim to follow him into the park, where he allegedly raped her.
Police said the suspect took a phone and wallet containing a debit card from the woman, and she said he demanded her PIN number for the card. The victim said the man then did something that surprised her: he walked her back to her home, as if nothing had happened.
He then left the area heading to East 141st Street where he apparently made an unauthorized $3 charge on the debit card at a nearby deli. The mother who was attacked received medical treatment at a hospital and is recovering from the assault.
Other residents are also concerned for their safety following the shocking crime.
"I thank God it hasn’t happened to me, but my heart goes out to the woman who actually has to go through this," said Destiny Gastó, who moved out of the Bronx.
The man remains on the loose — a point of concern for neighbors. Images show the suspect had a very specific Naruto anime figure on his hooded sweatshirt. A $3,500 reward is being offered for anyone with information leading to an arrest.
Police urge anyone with information to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).